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Another sign Monty Williams is safe as Pistons coach going into next season

Detroit Pistons v Washington Wizards

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29: Monty Williams of the Detroit Pistons looks on during the first half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on March 29, 2024 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images)

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The first sign Monty Williams likely would return as the Pistons coach came when new President of Basketball Operations Trajan Langdon took the job and soon after general manager Troy Weaver was out, but Williams stayed.

There was another sign this week, as Marc Stein pointed out in his substack newsletter: The Pistons hired Fred Vinson away from the Pelicans as an assistant coach. As Stein notes, that’s a “clear signal” Williams will return because teams don’t hire an assistant coach for a staff they are about to show the door.

There’s also the money aspect — Williams has completed just one year of a massive six-year, $78.5 million contract. That’s a lot of money for owner Tom Gores to eat. While Langdon reportedly had the power to fire Williams and bring in a new coach, saving the owner a few bucks on your first day on the job is how you show you were the right hire.

However, Williams enters next season in a seat that is already warm. The Pistons were a league-worst 14-68 last season, which included a record 24-game losing streak. While roster construction and injuries played a role in that record, so did some odd rotation choices from Williams, with questions swirling about how players are developing. Williams isn’t going to go into next season with a contending roster, but there are potential building blocks for the future with Cade Cunningham, Jalen Duran, Ausar Thompson, Jaden Ivey, and the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft. If there aren’t signs of progress, Williams could be out the door before next season ends.