Williams takes over a team that’s been one of the NBA’s worst over the last few years.
Monty Williams, the highly regarded Philadelphia 76ers top assistant, has agreed to become the next head coach of the Phoenix Suns.
Williams joins a franchise that has some talented young pieces in Deandre Ayton, Devin Booker, T.J. Warren, Josh Jackson and Kelly Oubre, but the franchise, which won only 19 games this season, has been in constant turmoil over the past eight years while employing seven different head coaches. The suns fired Igor Kokoskov last month after just one season.
Over the past six years, the Suns are tied with the Orlando Magic for having the worst record in the league during that span.
“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,” Suns general manager James Jones said in a release announcing the move. “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.”
Williams was the head coach with the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans from 2010-15 and led them to the playoffs twice. He was then the associate head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder, but stepped away from coaching in the aftermath of his wife’s tragic death in a car accident in 2016.
He returned to coaching this season as Brett Brown’s top assistant in Philadelphia.
“Anybody who pays attention even a little bit understands he’s elite people,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “He’s emerging, relatively young coach who’s incredibly relational and has been studying how to be an NBA coach. He’s been around and I hope he’s taken something from our program.”
Williams was an assistant coach with the United States national team under Mike Krzyzewski along with Jim Boeheim and Tom Thibodeau for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
Williams will stay with the Sixers until their playoff run is complete before assuming his duties in Phoenix.
A native of the Washington, DC area, Williams starred at Potomac High School in Oxon Hill, Maryland prior to attending the University of Notre Dame.
As a senior with the Fighting Irish in 1994, the 6-foot-8 small forward averaged 22.2 points and 8.4 rebounds as an honorable mention All-American. He was a first round pick by the Knicks in the 1994 NBA Draft and played in the league for nine years. In addition to New York, he also suited up for the Spurs, Nuggets, Magic and Sixers.
Williams was also considered to be among the top choices for the Los Angeles Lakers head coaching vacancy.