The Phoenix Suns announced over the weekend that they had fired their head coach Monty Williams. The move comes after the Suns were eliminated in the second round of NBA playoffs by the Denver Nuggets.
Williams spent four seasons with the Suns, leading the team to an NBA Finals in the 2020-21 season and winning the NBA Coach of the Year award in 2022.
“We are filled with gratitude for everything Monty has contributed to the Suns and to the Valley community, “said Suns’ general manager James Jones in a statement. “While it was difficult for me to make this decision, I look forward to continuing the work to build a championship team.”
Monty Williams arrived in Phoenix in 2019 after previously coaching the New Orleans Pelicans and serving as an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers, among other teams. He took over the struggling Suns, which hadn’t made a postseason appearance since 2009–10 until that point, and transformed them into a Western Conference powerhouse.
The Suns were considered one of the favorites to win the NBA title this season after acquiring superstar Kevin Durant in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets but ended up putting a disappointing performance against the Nuggets. The new owner, Mat Ishbia, reportedly took this as a big failure and determined that the best way forward is to get a fresh voice in the locker room.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Monty Williams is expected to attract interest from other teams with head coaching vacancies. The Milwaukee Bucks are considered a strong possibility, although it remains to be seen whether Williams wants to return to coaching straight away.