The Phoenix Suns fired Head Coach Monty Williams today after being eliminated in the second round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. Despite acquiring superstar Kevin Durant in a mid-season trade, the Suns fell 4-2 to the Denver Nuggets, capping off a 45-win season in disappointing fashion. Lack of depth and inability to stop Nuggets center Nikola Jokic contributed heavily to the defeat, but new Suns owner Matt Ishbia decided that coaching was also a contributing factor, dismissing Williams, who won the NBA Coach of the Year award for the 2021-22 season and led the Suns to a 194-115 record over his four seasons as the head coach.
Shams Charania of The Athletic tweeted the news.
The Suns’ 2023 playoffs loss marked the second straight season losing in the second round following an NBA Finals appearance in 2021.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the decision to fire Williams came from Ishbia himself.
New owner Mat Ishbia made decision to fire Williams, who has been the winningest coach in NBA since 2021. Suns have a starry but top-heavy roster with little cap flexibility this summer. The Suns will compete in coaching marketplace with Milwaukee and Toronto now. https://t.co/ElofmYaMDY— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 14, 2023
Williams was four seasons in to a five year deal he signed with the Suns before the 2019-20 regular season.
Phoenix now joins the Milwaukee Bucks (Mike Budenholzer), Toronto Raptors (Nick Nurse), and Houston Rockets (Stephen Silas) as teams releasing their head coaches after the 2022-23 season. Dwane Casey of the Detroit Pistons also moved into the front office this month following five years on the bench.