The Phoenix Suns have hired Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Monty Williams to be their new head coach, according to multiple reports. Williams, who has previous experience as head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, had also interviewed with the Los Angeles Lakers, who are still in the process of replacing Luke Walton.
Philadelphia assistant Monty Williams has agreed to a five-year deal to become the new head coach of the Phoenix Suns, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 3, 2019
Williams, who is signing a five-year deal with the Suns, was one of four coaches to reportedly interview with the Lakers. It is expected that the former Oklahoma City Thunder assistant preferred a situation where he could focus on player development with less pressure to win right away. The Suns recently fired head coach Igor Kokoskov after just one year on the job.
For the Lakers, this means that one of their top candidates is no longer on the table. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, they are now widely expected to hire former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue. According to Woj, no formal offer has been made.
Recent reports indicated that the Lakers organization was torn between Lue and Williams. There have been reports that some within the franchise did not want to hire Lue because it would give the illusion that LeBron James has too much power.
The team has also interviewed Miami Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard and former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd but the duo seem to be distant finishers in the race to replace Walton.
Williams and Lue both had previous experience coaching James, making them prime candidates for the job. Williams coached the Lakers star as part of Team USA while Lue coached him for his final three years with the Cavaliers.