PHOENIX SUNS

ESPN’s Wojnarowski: Suns hire of Monty Williams surprised Lakers

May 6, 2019, 2:41 PM | Updated: 2:55 pm
Assistant coach Monty Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on against the Brooklyn Nets in Game...
Assistant coach Monty Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on against the Brooklyn Nets in Game Two of Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center on April 15, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Already, the Phoenix Suns earned two wins by hiring head coach Monty Williams.

From a PR perspective, they got the man they reportedly targeted as their top choice to replace Igor Kokoskov. And within the ecosystem of the NBA offseason coaching carousel they did so in short time and beat out one of the largest players, the Los Angeles Lakers, for Williams’ services.

The Lakers job was never reported to have been offered to Williams, but he did interview twice. As the Suns went into their second interview of Williams last Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reported that both Williams and Ty Lue had impressed Lakers brass.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Los Angeles appeared quite close to offering Williams the chance to coach All-Star LeBron James. On The Woj Pod, Wojnarowski said that James did not tell Lakers management that he would prefer Lue, his former coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers, over Williams.

“He didn’t tell the Lakers you have to [hire Lue] because they were ready to move toward Monty Williams,” Wojnarowski said, “and I think the Lakers … never really took seriously the possibility he was going to take the Suns job and he did and I think — I know it surprised them.”

While Williams may not have been posed with the direct choice of picking the Suns over the Lakers, his quick acceptance of the Phoenix offer indicated just how poorly Los Angeles is being perceived as a franchise.

The unforeseen end-of-season departure of president of basketball operations Magic Johnson left the team without a lead voice, let alone one with a basketball resume leading the hiring process. now, owner Jeanie Buss and former agent Rob Pelinka are attempt to settle things down.

That dysfunction, one can imagine, played a huge role in Williams committing to the Suns once an offer was on the table.

“I think that’s the right choice. LeBron James has three, four years left in his career,” said former All-Star Tracy McGrady on ESPN’s The Jump. “This is a great core group … these guys are only getting better. Devin Booker is going into his prime. I think he’ll do wonders for those young core guys.”

McGrady’s ESPN colleague Brian Windhorst agrees.

While overlooking a concerning past history for the Suns under owner Robert Sarver, who has fired three permanent head coaches and one GM in the past five years, Phoenix’s roster brings appeal.

“I’m very excited about Booker and Ayton,” Windhorst told Bickley & Marotta on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “Just looking at what you have, young stars in-house, good pick coming, market that you can get free agents in … there’s a lot of boxes to check where this is good job, good job, good job, good job.

“I think it’s a better job than the Lakers job,” Windhorst added. “Now if the Lakers get the No. 2 pick in the lottery and trade for Anthony Davis on June 15, then it’s a different conversation. But today, in the vacuum that we’re in right now, I feel like the Suns job was the better job, and that’s probably why Monty Williams was glad to take it when it was offered.”

Phoenix Suns

Landry Shamet #14 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball during the NBA preseason game at Footprint C...
Arizona Sports

Landry Shamet already feeling right at home with Suns

Landry Shamet has not played for the Suns yet, so that made it somewhat of a surprise that he was inked to a four-year contract extension.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns' Chris Paul (3) talks with Devin Booker (1) during the first half of Game 3 of basketb...
Kellan Olson

Empire of the Suns: Picking Phoenix’s MVP, MIP and biggest concern

Here are a few key questions for the Phoenix Suns as they attempt to make another deep playoff run.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns interim GM James Jones sits during an interview with The Doug & Wolf Show on 98.7 ...
Wills Rice

Suns GM James Jones: Deandre Ayton wanted 5-year max, nothing less

Suns GM James Jones said that the team and center Deandre Ayton did not have real negotiations in regards to the rookie max extension.
1 day ago
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks heads to the net as Kevin Durant #7 of the Brookly...
Arizona Sports

Empire of the Suns’ NBA preview: Title favs, MVP picks and players to watch

Empire of the Suns podcast co-hosts Kellan Olson and Kevin Zimmerman dive into the new year with this NBA-wide glance.
1 day ago
Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks shoots against Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns dur...
Arizona Sports

Here are the extensions signed from the 2018 NBA Draft class

The Phoenix Suns signed two players from the 2018 NBA Draft class to extensions but not center Deandre Ayton.
1 day ago
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns and Mikal Bridges #25 celebrate defeating the LA Clippers 104...
Arizona Sports

Mikal Bridges, Joe Johnson and others react to Ayton not agreeing on extension

Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges, basketball world comment on Deandre Ayton's contract extension situation.
1 day ago
ESPN’s Wojnarowski: Suns hire of Monty Williams surprised Lakers