Monty Williams fired after one disastrous season in Detroit

Detroit Bad Boys

The Detroit Pistons have fired head coach Monty Williams just one year after making him the highest paid coach in NBA history. The Pistons are still on the hook for $65 million guaranteed on his deal over the next five years. The news was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Williams leaves after guiding an undertalented, unhealthy team to its worst record in franchise history. The Pistons won just 14 games under Williams, including an NBA-record 28 consecutive losses from Oct. 30 to Dec. 28.

His hiring was heralded by the NBA media and Pistons fans alike after achieving much success guiding a young New Orleans Pelicans team and then transitioning to years of high-level contention leading the Phoenix Suns.

Detroit’s process of hiring a new coach was not ideal, to say the least. Detroit brought in a number of candidates to replace Dwane Casey, who moved into a front office role. The final candidates came down to one guy reportedly supported by now-fired GM Troy Weaver (Kevin Ollie), one guy supported by Troy Weaver (Charles Lee), and one guy supported by Arn Tellem (Jarron Collins).

In the end, the lack of consensus and perhaps the lackluster final candidate pool led Gores to go back to Williams and giving him an offer he couldn’t refuse. That deal ended up being six years guaranteed with options that could stretch the contract to eight years and $100 million.

Gores wouldn’t take no for an answer from Williams, who turned down the offer to interview several times as he was planning to take a year off from coaching to support his wife, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer at the time.

Eventually, he said yes, and was plain spoken about the money being a factor in him accepting the job.

Strange vibes seemed evident early on, with training camp signs the plan was to bring the promising Jaden Ivey off the bench for his second year to give the struggling Killian Hayes another shot at a starting role.

Williams also trotted out 10- and 11-man rotations in many games, sometimes all in the first quarter, and never seemed comfortable staggering his starters. Instead, he would opt for all-bench units on a team with the worst bench in the NBA.

When the Pistons announced they were in the hunt for a new president of basketball operations, it was made clear that the new president would have full discretion to fire Williams if that was the new prez’s preferred path. Gores was willing to write the check, and now he’s willing to eat the money.

It’s unclear who Langdon could eye to step in as head coach of the team. We previously wrote about several candidates who could potentially replace Williams in Detroit. The search begins now, and not a moment too soon with the NBA Draft and free agency right around the corner.

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