Sixers assistant Monty Williams has agreed to become the new head coach of the Suns, the team announced today in a press release. Williams will stick with Philadelphia until the end of the club’s playoff run before officially making the move to Phoenix, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter), Williams and the Suns have reached an agreement on a five-year contract. Wojnarowski (via Twitter) first reported that the two sides were finalizing a deal.
“I am thrilled to welcome Monty Williams to the Suns family as our next head coach,” general manager James Jones said in a statement. “Monty brings a wealth of NBA experience, both as a coach and former player, in addition to being a high-character individual who will infuse basketball wisdom and life lessons into our locker room. Monty is well respected for his coaching pedigree, leadership and commitment to the community, all of which make him the ideal person to lead our team moving forward.”
It will be Williams’ second opportunity to serve as an NBA head coach. He previously held that position in New Orleans from 2010-15 for the Hornets and Pelicans. Over the course of five seasons with the franchise, he posted a 173-221 (.439) record, with two postseason appearances. New Orleans didn’t win a playoff series during that stretch.
Despite Williams’ modest record as a head coach, he has long been regarded as one of the NBA’s top assistants. He worked as a member of Brett Brown‘s staff in Philadelphia this season after returning to the game following a two-year absence while he mourned the death of his wife, Ingrid, who was killed in a car crash in Oklahoma City in February 2016.
Williams spent one season as the Thunder’s associate head coach in 2015/16. Before his stint as New Orleans’ head coach, he was an assistant in Portland for several years.
In Phoenix, Williams will take the reins from Igor Kokoskov, who was dismissed after just one season. The Suns’ five-year committment to Williams suggests that that team plans to be more patient with its new head coach, giving him the opportunity to develop Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and the organization’s other young prospects.
The Suns also interviewed Trail Blazers assistants David Kanterpool and Nate Tibbetts during their search process, but Williams was always considered the frontrunner. He had two interviews for the job, with team owner Robert Sarver in attendance for the second meeting.
Williams had been under consideration for the Lakers’ head coaching vacancy as well, so it appears his agreement with the Suns paves the way for Tyronn Lue to become the favorite for that job.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.