The Detroit Pistons have agreed to a record deal with Monty Williams to be the franchise’s new head coach, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
CNN has reached out to the Detroit Pistons for comment but did not immediately hear back.
Williams was fired by the Phoenix Suns earlier in May after a disappointing run in the playoffs. The Suns stormed to a first round 4-1 series win against the below strength Los Angeles Clippers, but then struggled against eventual NBA finalists, the Denver Nuggets.
Despite the mid-season acquisition of 13-time NBA All-Star Kevin Durant, to go with stars Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton, Williams could not guide his team past Nikola Jokić and Co. – eventually falling to a 4-2 series loss and bouncing out of the Western Conference semifinals.
The Suns fell at the exact same hurdle in the 2021-22 season, losing in seven games against the Dallas Mavericks, despite leading 3-2 in the series.
The previous year, Williams helped lead the Suns to its first NBA finals appearance since 1993, which ultimately led to defeat against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.
In his time with the Suns, Williams compiled a 194-115 regular season record in four years and won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award last season after the Suns won 64 regular-season games.
Williams replaces Dwayne Casey at the Pistons, who stepped down as head coach following the season to take a front-office role in Detroit. In five seasons with the team, Casey complied a 121-263 record and helped lead Detroit to the playoffs once in 2018-2019.
The Pistons are in a very different position to the Suns but Williams’ experience in turning things around in Phoenix could prove vital.
Detroit has a roster of players full of potential and it will be Williams’ job to get the best out of their young core.
Cade Cunningham, the 2021 No. 1 pick and Jaden Ivey, the 2022 No. 5 pick, will be cornerstones of the franchise for years to come and have already impressed in the NBA.
Alongside the star backcourt, Williams will look to get the maximum out of the likes of James Wiseman, Jalen Duren, and their future 2023 No. 5 pick to steer the Pistons towards the playoffs.
However, the former New Orleans Pelicans head coach won’t be expected to reverse Detroit’s fortunes overnight. The Pistons finished with the worst record in the NBA last season, ending up going 17-65 throughout the regular season.
In the 2021-22 season the Pistons finished with a 23-59 record, highlighting the job at hand for Williams.
The long-term commitment to the 55-year-old coach underlines the project being built in Detroit and the belief they have in the future of their players and new head coach.