The Detroit Pistons are still interested in hiring one of the biggest-name coaches on the market.
A source familiar with the negotiations confirmed to the Free Press the Pistons are prepared to make a strong offer — $10 million per year — to recently fired Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams, who led the team to the NBA Finals in 2021. It would be a home run swing for the Pistons, who have held the 2022 NBA Coach of the Year in high regard since he was dismissed in May.
The Athletic initially reported the Pistons’ ongoing interest and the range of their potential contract offer.
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who has won five NBA titles, leads all coaches in the league in salary with a $11.5 million annual salary. Steve Kerr, who has led the Golden State Warriors to four NBA championships, makes $9.5 million a year.
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The Pistons initially made contact with Williams two weeks ago after the NBA draft lottery, but sources say he turned the team down and intended to take a year off. But the Pistons remained interested, and have now returned to the table. It remains to be seen if Williams is prepared to change his mind, but he’s considering Detroit’s offer.
If the Pistons hired Williams, he would be their third straight coach with extensive experience as an NBA head coach. Dwane Casey ended his coaching tenure after five years at the end of the 2022-23 regular season. Casey previously was the coach of the Toronto Raptors. Prior to Casey, the Pistons handed the franchise over to Stan Van Gundy (formerly with the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic) when they named him head coach and president of basketball operations.
The Pistons’ coaching search has been going on for quite a while now, and the Pistons previously had three finalists in Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Charles Lee and former UConn and Overtime Elite coach Kevin Ollie, as well New Orleans Pelicans assistant Jarron Collins. If Williams turns Detroit down a second time, it’s still possible that Lee or Ollie will be hired.
The Suns, who extended Williams contract just last summer, made a big splash around the trade deadline this year when they sent several first-round picks and a package of players to the Brooklyn Nets for Kevin Durant, just hours after new owner and Michigan native Mat Ishbia took over.
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When the Suns fell short of those expectations and were blown out, 125-100, in Game 6 of the second round of the playoffs against the Denver Nuggets, the Suns ultimately decided to move on from Williams.
The Pistons finished with an NBA-worst record of 17-65 this season. They own the No. 5 overall pick in June’s draft.