On Saturday, the Phoenix Suns announced that they had fired Monty Williams as their head coach. This decision came two years after the Suns reached the NBA Finals and one year after Williams was named the coach of the year.
During his four regular seasons with the Suns, Williams achieved a high level of success, winning 63 percent of his games. However, the team’s playoff struggles in the past three years seemed to be the determining factor in his dismissal. In particular, the Suns suffered consecutive defeats in elimination games at home after trailing by 30 points at halftime.
ESPN and The Athletic were the first to report on the decision.
James Jones, the Suns’ president of basketball operations and general manager, expressed his gratitude towards Williams for his contributions to the team and the local community over the past four seasons. He also revealed that he was the one who made the decision to terminate Williams’ contract.
Despite the Phoenix Suns having a 2-0 lead in the 2021 NBA Finals, they ended up losing the series in six games. Their playoff struggles continued in the last two seasons, where they were eliminated in the second round, both times with disappointing home defeats – last year to Dallas and this year to Denver.
When asked about how this year’s loss compared to last season’s disappointment, Monty Williams, the now-former head coach of the Suns, expressed that neither day felt good.
With the Suns’ decision to let go of Williams, the team now joins the list of high-profile coaching openings, alongside Toronto, who fired Nick Nurse, and Milwaukee, who let go of Mike Budenholzer. Nurse had led the Raptors to the NBA championship in 2019, while Budenholzer was the coach responsible for overcoming the Suns’ 2-0 lead in the 2021 finals.