Suns head coach Monty Williams: Robert Sarver took ‘ownership’ of past

May 21, 2019, 11:21 AM | Updated: 4:39 pm
Owner of the Phoenix Suns, Robert Sarver during the NBA game against the Charlotte Bobcats at US Ai...
Owner of the Phoenix Suns, Robert Sarver during the NBA game against the Charlotte Bobcats at US Airways Center on December 19, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Before the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers had filled their head coaching vacancies this offseason, the name Monty Williams was connected to both franchises in the rumor mill.

Williams eventually got the job with Phoenix and accepted it, joining a franchise that’s notoriously faced criticisms for the habits of its owner, Robert Sarver. For whatever those criticisms may involve — the lack of playoff appearances, frequent staff upheaval or allegations of meddling in day-to-day decisions — Sarver apparently is aware of his reputation.

“Number one, in my conversations with Mr. Sarver, I saw someone who didn’t duck the tough questions,” Williams said at his introductory press conference on Tuesday when asked about Sarver. “We both had tough questions for each other. And in this day and age where people throw each other under the bus, make excuses, blame, I didn’t see that.”

Even Williams himself acknowledged his own shortcomings and failures previously that he’s learned from as a head coach and noted the passion Sarver has for getting this right with the Suns. 

“I saw a man who really wants to bring success to this city, and I mean that with all of my heart or I wouldn’t have come,” Williams said. “[GM] James [Jones] and I are a lot alike in that we just want to do the right things, and I saw that with Mr. Sarver. For him to take ownership of his past was huge for me. Because I had to do the same thing.

“He had tough questions for me. And if you looked at my past, I’ve done some things, said some things in the media that I wish I could’ve taken back. So that’s what I saw. I saw a man who’s passionate, a man who cares about the city. In our conversations, I just felt that. I felt like he really wants to bring something to this city that’s pretty cool, and I wanted to be a part of that.”

After his introductory press conference, Williams joined Bickley & Marotta on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station and revealed that former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo encouraged Williams to accept the Suns job.

“Mr. Colangelo was the guy that really pushed me to work for Mr. Sarver. And that said a lot,” Williams said. “Because most people would think that they don’t get along, and that’s contrary to what the reality is. So all of that stuff, along with our conversations and us being transparent about the things we want to be better at, helped me in this decision.”

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