Pistons agree to deal with former Suns HC Monty Williams

Jun 2, 2023, 5:40 PM | Updated: 5:41 pm

Former Suns head coach Monty Williams...

Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns reacts in the first half against the Chicago Bulls at United Center on March 03, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Former Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams has agreed to a six-year deal worth $78.5 million to coach the Detroit Pistons, the team announced on Friday.

The deal was initially reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania and James Edwards III.

Yahoo! Sports’ Vincent Goodwill reported the deal could exceed $100 million in value with incentives and includes team options beyond the six years. Charania notes that for two additional seasons, meaning it could go for up to eight years.

Williams’ new gig comes 18 days after he was fired by the Suns. Williams went 194-115 (.628) in four seasons with Phoenix.

Salaries for head coaches are not widely known, unlike players, so it’s unclear where Williams’ figure per year ranks among its peers. But it’s surely near the top. And ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports it’s the largest deal in NBA history.

Detroit was in need of a new head coach after Dwane Casey stepped down and moved to the front office following a 17-65 season.

Williams was also linked to the Milwaukee Bucks opening but indicated he would heavily consider taking a year off from work, as the Suns still owe him about $21 million for the next three seasons, Charania reports.

The story from Charania and Edwards notes Detroit initially interviewed nearly a dozen candidates before circling back to Williams, who they quickly reached out to shortly after Williams’ firing. The Pistons made contact with the coach again two weeks later, this time putting contract numbers and a plan for the team in front of him. Williams then took a private plane sent from Detroit owner Tom Gores and Williams met him in Los Angeles on Sunday. Williams had more terms presented to him the next day before taking time with his family to make the decision.

With the Pistons, Williams will coach a young core that includes 2021 first-overall draft pick Cade Cunningham, plus guard Jaden Ivey and big men Jalen Duren and Isaiah Stewart. Detroit also has the No. 5 overall pick in June.

In his first season, the Suns made strides improving to 34 wins from 19 the season prior. Williams was with the Suns in the 2020 NBA Bubble, which included an 8-0 run that would set the tone for the next two seasons.

The Suns narrowly missed the playoff bubble in that COVID-shortened 2019-20 season before going to the NBA Finals in 2021 and losing in the conference semifinals the past two years.

Williams agreed to a multi-year extension with the Suns in July 2022, when the team was under former owner Robert Sarver. He was fired under the ownership of Mat Ishbia.

Taking over as head coach of the Suns prior to the 2019-20 NBA season, Phoenix saw improvement in every season under the leadership of Williams before 2022-23.

After leading the Suns to an NBA-best 64-18 record in 2022-23, Williams was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year. He’s also received the coach of the year award from the National Basketball Coaches Association in consecutive seasons.

The Suns reportedly replaced Williams with former Lakers head coach Frank Vogel on Friday.

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