LOS ANGELES, USA – Monty Williams, a deputy for the Philadelphia 76ers, has agreed to terms to become the next head coach of the Phoenix Suns, the club announced Friday, May 3 (Saturday, May 4, Philippine time).
The 47-year-old former NBA forward will take over a team that fired Igor Kokoskov last month after a 19-63 campaign, the Suns’ worst record since their inaugural 1968-69 season.
Williams, who played 9 seasons before retiring with the 76ers in 2003 due to nagging knee problems, will be charged with reviving a moribund team that hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2010.
The Suns picked first in the NBA Draft last year for the first time in team history, selecting Bahamian big man Deandre Ayton, a college star at the nearby University of Arizona.
The deal reportedly will be for 5 years but Williams will not start as the Suns’ coach until the 76ers are done with their NBA playoff run against the Toronto Raptors.
Philadelphia leads Toronto 2-1 in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference second-round series.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Monty Williams to the Suns family as our next head coach,” Suns general manager James Jones said.
“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.”
The Suns have agreed to terms with Monty Williams to become the 20th head coach in franchise history! pic.twitter.com/Wm7tU8agIX— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) May 3, 2019
Williams coached the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans from 2010 to 2015, twice reaching the playoffs only to lose in the first round.
He spent 5 years before that as an assistant for the Portland Trail Blazers and served in 2015-16 as associate coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In 2016, Williams became vice president of basketball operations for the San Antonio Spurs and stayed there until joining the 76ers.
“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,” Jones said.
Williams also served as an assistant coach on the US men’s team of NBA stars that won the 2014 Basketball World Cup in Spain and the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Statement from our new Head Coach, Monty! pic.twitter.com/AnuYOfMM0T— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) May 4, 2019
As a player, Williams averaged 6.3 points in 456 career games with New York, San Antonio, Denver, Orlando and Philadelphia.
The Suns made a fifth coaching change in 5 years after a season in which they endured a club-worst 17-game losing streak.
Phoenix also became the first team in the shot-clock era (since 1954) to score less than 10 points in the opening quarter of back-to-back games.– Rappler.com
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