Suns’ Monty Williams once interviewed with Steve Kerr for Suns HC job

Aug 14, 2021, 8:00 AM | Updated: Aug 15, 2021, 8:36 pm
(File photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)...
(File photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(File photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Before Monty Williams worked his way up the NBA coaching rankings to become the Phoenix Suns’ head coach in 2019, he very well could’ve started that journey in the Valley over a decade ago.

On Friday’s edition of The Woj Pod, Williams told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that he had conversations with then-Suns general manager about the vacant head coaching position.

“Steve Kerr was the general manager in Phoenix,” he said. “They called me and Steve wanted to talk. I was in my 30s and I was dumber than I am now but I thought I knew everything.”

After his initial conversation with Kerr, Williams was told what every prospective-coach would want to hear: He earned another conversation with the Suns GM.

His next talk with Kerr, however, Williams didn’t receive the news he wanted, but it’s what he called it one best experiences he’s had in an interview process.

“The next time I talked to Steve … he just told me straight up, ‘Mont, you’re not ready for this job. I’m not even going to put you through this,'” Williams said.

Williams said the feedback from Kerr was humbling yet true.

Now, for Suns fans curious when this was, Williams didn’t say and it’s not 100% clear. But looking at when the Suns had head coaching openings during Kerr’s tenure as the team’s GM from 2007-10, it would have been either the summer of 2008 or 2009.

Kerr hired Terry Porter in ’08, and Porter was fired after 51 games. Alvin Gentry took over mid-sesaon on an interim basis, and then went on to be hired full time the following year.

An assistant in Portland at the time, Williams was still in his mid-30s working up the coaching ranks. He said Kerr’s honesty about the situation really allowed him to grow as a coach.

“Steve was straight and honest and respectful and he just told me the real deal,” he said.

Williams thinks a lot of that had to due with the two having a relationship through the San Antonio Spurs, as well as competing against one another.

“The point is, unless you have those opportunities to talk to people on the phone or sit in front of an owner or GM and get blasted with questions, how else are you gonna grow?”

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Suns’ Monty Williams once interviewed with Steve Kerr for Suns HC job