UPDATE: Pistons reportedly agree to massive deal to make Monty Williams new coach
UPDATE: The Detroit Pistons — specifically team owner Tom Gores — got their man.
The Pistons backed up the Brinks truck and agreed to terms with former Suns coach Monty Williams to be their next head coach, something first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic and confirmed by Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, among others.
Other reports have this as even a larger deal, with Yahoo’s Vincent Goodwill saying it could expand to eight years and $100 million with incentives. While some of those incentives are probably very unlikely, it shows how far the Pistons were willing to go to land Williams.
It will be interesting to see how much power Williams will have over player personnel moves in addition to being the coach. Pistons GM Troy Weaver and Williams worked together back in Oklahoma City.
Williams reportedly was planning to take a year off from coaching after being let go by the Suns, but he got an offer he could not refuse.
Gores had interviewed the other top candidates, Charles Lee and Kevin Ollie, and decided to make one more big run at Williams before giving one of the first-timers the job. Williams is a defensive first coach known for discipline, and those things were on the top of the Pistons’ coaching wish list.
Williams is one of the most respected coaches around the league, but he did have clashes with players on the roster in Phoenix, most prominently Deandre Ayton. The chemistry in Phoenix that looked so good when Williams took the Suns to the Finals seemed much more fractured by the end. New owner Mat Ishbia reportedly never warmed to Williams, and that combined with the second-round exit for a team with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker was enough to make the change.
Now Williams has a new home — and a massive payday.
Not long after Dwane Casey left the bench and moved into the Pistons’ front office, the Pistons called Monty Williams and tried to make a big money offer to entice him to come, something reported at the time by Marc Stein. Buzz grew around the league that Williams — who was let go by the Suns after they fell in the second round — was going to take a little time off from coaching before jumping back into the grind.The Pistons have gone through their coaching search — reportedly with former Bucks’ assistant Charles Lee and former UConn coach Kevin Ollie as the frontrunners — but before picking one of them the Pistons are going to make one more run at Williams, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The Pistons are preparing to offer Williams in the range of $10 million per year, league sources said, which would put him among the league’s highest-paid coaches. Detroit has been hopeful over the past several weeks that Williams would consider accepting the job, sources added...
If Williams declines the proposal, Lee, a Bucks assistant since 2018, is expected to emerge as the likely choice, league sources said.
This report was echoed by Stein, who added details.
The phrasing from Charania — “Detroit has been hopeful... that Williams would consider accepting the job” — is no accident, that’s a sign of what they expect to happen.
If you were the owner/PR staff of a struggling team — one that the lottery gods just knocked down to fifth in the upcoming NBA Draft — and you were about to hire a deserving but not well-known coach to lead your franchise, leaking about the big offer you made to the big name coach is smart spin. If Williams takes the money, the Pistons land a top-flight coach. If Williams says “no thanks” then you can tell the fan base you tried.
The Pistons entered last season hoping to make a run to the play-in, but those hopes were dashed when Cade Cunningham was injured a dozen games into the season and missed the rest of it. With Cunningham back along with Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren, Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey, Bojan Bogdanovic and the No. 5 pick, expectations of wins will greet whoever is the new coach.