Report: Suns extend contract of coach Monty Williams
Monty Williams, the reigning Coach of the Year, will be staying with the Phoenix Suns a lot longer.
In what may be Phoenix’s best offseason move, Williams and the Suns have agreed to a contract extension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Williams has been at the heart of a culture change in Phoenix that has taken the Suns to the NBA Finals two seasons ago and led them to a league-best 64 wins last season. One of the most well-liked and respected people in the NBA, Williams has a gift at getting through to players and correcting or challenging them without bruising their egos.
Williams played nine seasons in the NBA before turning to coaching, first with the Hornets and now with the Suns.
Williams has some work ahead of him this year.
The relationship between Williams and center Deandre Ayton was frayed at the end of last season and into the playoffs, with Williams playing Ayton just 17 minutes in the Suns’ close-out game and then, when asked why after the game, saying it was “internal.” This offseason, the Suns quickly matched the four-year, $133 million max offer sheet bringing Ayton back to Phoenix. Ayton has wanted a larger role in the offense. Williams needs to find a path that repairs his relationship with his center, makes Ayton happy, but also keeps Chris Paul running the offense and Devin Booker as the No. 1 option. Also, Williams and the players will have to navigate the NBA’s report on its investigation into team owner Robert Sarver dropping (Adam Silver said the investigation was in its final phase), which could prove a distraction.
The Suns are primarily running it back with the roster that had the best record in the conference last season, but the West will be deeper and better this season (the Clippers and Nuggets get healthy, the Grizzlies get more experienced, the Timberwolves added Rudy Gobert, the Pelicans get a healthy Zion Williamson, and the Warriors are still the team to beat). Phoenix will have to be better just to maintain its place in the West, which will put more pressure on Williams.
But he is the right man for the job, and the Suns made the smart move locking him up.