The Phoenix Suns have fired head coach Monty Williams after two straight early NBA playoff exits. Williams, who was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2022, compiled a 194-115 record in four seasons with the Suns. He led the Suns to the playoffs the last three seasons, going 27-19 in the postseason.
“Monty has been foundational to our success over the past four seasons,” Suns general manager James Jones said in a statement. “We are filled with gratitude for everything Monty has contributed to the Suns and to the Valley community.” The Suns reached the NBA Finals in 2021, but were swept by the Milwaukee Bucks. This season, they were eliminated in the second round by the Dallas Mavericks.
Williams was 194-115 (.628) in the regular season and 27-19 in the playoffs for Phoenix. In the 125-100 elimination defeat, the Suns were without two starters: guard Chris Paul and center Deandre Ayton. The Suns were thoroughly defeated by the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of the conference playoffs, the final game of their season in 2022, losing 123-90. Get the latest NBA livescore updates and stories here!
“I take that personally, not having our team ready to play in the biggest game of the year,” Williams said after the loss to Denver. “That’s something that I pride myself on and it just didn’t happen. … That’s something I have to take a deep look at, everything I’m doing.” According to reports, Williams had three years and more than $20 million left on his contract.
Williams’ firing comes after the Suns made a number of changes this offseason under new owner Mat Ishbia, who reportedly never warmed to Williams as his coach.
During Williams’ time with the Suns, he led the team to a 64-win season in 2022, which was a franchise record. He also won the NBA Coach of the Year award that season. Williams was known for his ability to get the most out of his players. He created a positive culture in the locker room and helped the Suns develop into a contender.
They are hoping that a new coach can help them get over the hump and bring a title back to Phoenix. There are a number of potential replacements for Williams. Some of the names that have been mentioned include Mike D’Antoni, Ty Lue, and Mark Jackson. The Suns have not won an NBA championship since 1993. Toronto and Detroit are the other franchises currently in the market for a head coach.