Mikal Bridges on Monty Williams firing: ‘I say Monty is not the problem’
Mikal Bridges was sent from the warm sands of the Arizona desert to the intense urban experience that is New York when the Phoenix Suns traded him to Brooklyn last February as part of the Kevin Durant trade. It may not have been what the 26-year-old wing expected but, with the ball put in his hands and asked to do more, Bridges thrived with the Nets averaging 26.1 points a game.
Bridges talked about that experience, moving from Phoenix to Brooklyn, and more on The Pivot Podcast hosted by former NFL players Channing Crowder, Fred Taylor and Ryan Clark. Eventually, the conversation swung to the Suns’ abrupt firing of Monty Williams after the season (hat tip Duane Rankin at the Arizona Republic).
“He’s going to get through it,” Bridges said. “He knows he’s a hell of a coach. He probably knows about the situation. Me personally, I say Monty is not the problem, but who am I?”
“Monty’s not the problem, but he’s going to be great somewhere else,” Bridges continued. “He’s going to get another chance and he’s going to be alright.”
Williams was fired days after the Suns fell to the Denver Nuggets in the second round in a move primarily driven by new team owner Mat Ishbia. He has quickly put his stamp on the franchise, he pushed hard to make sure the Durant trade happened in the days after he took control of the franchise and is rumored to basically be running basketball operations. The Suns head into an offseason where they need to replace the depth traded away to get Durant, with a sense that Deandre Ayton will be traded somewhere this summer and Chris Paul might be.
As for who will replace Williams as coach, they reportedly have interest in current Clippers coach Tyronn Lue, but he has two years left on his contract. While his frustration with an ever-shifting roster in Los Angeles due to injuries was evident, both Lue and team president Lawrence Frank said Lue would be back, and one of Lue’s biggest supporters is owner Steve Ballmer. There have been conflicting reports about the Suns’ level of interest in big names such as former Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer or former Raptors coach Nick Nurse.
Suns’ assistant coach Kevin Young headlines a group of assistant coaches reportedly to be interviewed for the job including Bucks assistant Charles Lee, Grizzlies assistant Darko Rajakovic and Kings assistant Jordi Fernandez.
As for Williams, he will land on his feet. He is considered an early frontrunner both with the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers.