Why did the Suns fire Monty Williams? Phoenix makes major move after second-round playoff exit
Why did the Suns fire Monty Williams? Phoenix makes major move after second-round playoff exit
Why did the Suns fire Monty Williams? Move comes after second-round playoff exit

Monty Williams is paying for the Suns' playoff failure in 2023.

Phoenix fired the veteran head coach Saturday night, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported. The team's only statement as of early Sunday was tweeted a thank you to Williams and quote from team president and general manager James Jones.

MORE: Can Phoenix build championship roster around Devin Booker and Kevin Durant?

Thank you, Monty.

“We are filled with gratitude for everything Monty has contributed to the Suns and to the Valley community."
- President of Basketball Operations and General Manager James Jones pic.twitter.com/PMmZ6JkqAy

— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) May 14, 2023

The move comes after the Suns were eliminated by the top-seeded Nuggets in the Western Conference second round this week. This was the second year in a row Phoenix bowed out in Round 2: It fell to the Mavericks in 2022.

Williams is the fifth NBA head coach to be fired since the end of the regular season, joining Stephen Silas (Rockets), Dwane Casey (Pistons), Nick Nurse (Raptors) and MIke Budenholzer (Bucks).

Williams was in charge of a team that had added Kevin Durant in a massive deadline trade with the Nets and created a big three of sorts with Durant, Devin Booker and Chris Paul. The mindset of new team owner Mat Ishbia was to return to the NBA Finals. With that no longer a possibility, Ishbia is making personnel changes.

Why did the Suns let Williams go? Here's everything we know about the situation.

Why did the Suns fire Monty Williams?

The obvious answer seems to be that the Suns' second-round playoff exit gave Ishbia the green light to bring in a new coach.

Phoenix made the Finals under Williams in 2021, losing to the Bucks. Two years later, the team is out in the second round for a second consecutive season, and it's top-heavy and expensive. Durant, Booker, Paul and center Deandre Ayton will make an estimated $145.6 million in the 2023-24 season, according to Spotrac. Ten players can become free agents this summer.

Monty Williams coaching record

Williams took over the Suns in 2019, replacing Igor Kokoskov. He put compiled a 194-115 overall record (.628 winning percentage) with the franchise in the regular season. Phoenix made the playoffs his last three years with the team, coinciding with Paul's arrival.

Prior to his stint in Phoenix, Williams coached the Hornets/Pelicans in New Orleans, with Paul as his point guard in his first season, 2010-11.

Season Team W L Pct
2010-11 Hornets (New Orleans) 46 36 .561
2011-12 Hornets (New Orleans) 21 45 .318
2012-13 Hornets (New Orleans) 27 55 .329
2013-14 Pelicans 34 48 .415
2014-15 Pelicans 45 37 .549
2019-20 Suns 34 39 .466
2020-21 Suns 51 21 .708
2021-22 Suns 64 18 .780
2022-23 Suns 45 37 .549

Monty Williams contract

Phoenix signed Williams to a multiyear extension in July 2022, not long after he had been voted NBA Coach of the Year for the 2021-22 season. Terms were not disclosed.

This article will be updated.

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