Philadelphia 76ers assistant Monty Williams will be the new coach of the Phoenix Suns, replacing Igor Kokoskov, who was fired last week after one disappointing season.
The Suns announced Friday that they had come to terms with Williams, who will join Phoenix after the 76ers complete their run in the NBA playoffs. The 76ers have a 2-1 lead over Toronto in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Monty Williams is finalizing a deal to become Phoenix’s coach, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 3, 2019
“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.”
The 47-year-old Williams has previous head coaching experience, spending five seasons in charge in New Orleans from 2010 to 2015, a stint during which he led the franchise to two post-season appearances. He is in his first season as an assistant coach with the 76ers. He also played nine years in the NBA, including time with New York, San Antonio, Denver, Orlando, and Philadelphia.
Williams also drew serious interest from the Los Angeles Lakers after Luke Walton and the team “parted ways” earlier this month. It was believed to be a two-team race between the Suns and the Lakers when it came to Williams.
This season, the Suns finished tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second-worst record in the NBA at 19-63. The New York Knicks were 17-65. Phoenix was an NBA-worst 21-61 a year ago. The Suns have a talented young roster and could benefit from a player-friendly coach like Williams.