The Phoenix Suns season is seen by most as a huge disappointment after falling to the Denver Nuggets in their second-round matchup. This led to a shocking move by new owner Mat Ishbia on Saturday night.
Changes around the organization were rumored after their loss. The team was expected to potentially shop both star point guard Chris Paul and center DeAndre Ayton.
While changes likely need to be made to change this team around and make them a true contender, very few expected the move that the organization made on Saturday.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Suns are parting ways with head coach Monty Williams.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 14, 2023
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski added that this move specifically came from Ishbia.
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
Many around the NBA world offered their opinion on the surprising decision.
When Monty Williams came to the Suns they were a joke. Point blank.
What he accomplished alongside James Jones and Devin Booker in a span of 4 years (from 19 wins, to the bubble season, to the Finals, to franchise-record 64 wins) is nothing short of remarkable.
— Sam Cooper (@scooperhoops) May 14, 2023
Monty Williams may legitimately draw interest from half of the league. Some team is going to get a terrific coach and an even better person.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) May 14, 2023
It was fair to wonder if the Suns had hit their ceiling under Monty Williams, but a lot of their playoff flaws were due to roster construction as much as anything else. Massive summer ahead for Phoenix that they have to nail, and now finding a new head coach tops the list
— Gerald Bourguet (@GeraldBourguet) May 14, 2023
Monty Williams was amazing for the Suns and I’m very grateful for everything he did for the team and city.
— Mike Vigil (@protectedpick) May 14, 2023
— Gabe Guerrero (@GabeGuerrero03) May 14, 2023
This decision comes just one year after Williams was named the Coach of the Year in the NBA and two years after they reached the NBA Finals.
Williams joined the team in the 2019-20 season and directly helped the team turn things around. He finished his tenure with the team holding a 191-115 record while leading the team to the postseason three straight years. Over the past three seasons, he was the winning coach in basketball.
Monty Williams last three seasons with the Suns…
2021: 51-21 record, lost in NBA Finals
2022: 64-18 record, lost Conf. Semifinals (Won Coach of the Year)
2023: 45-37 record, lost Conf. Semifinals
The winningest coach in that span 😮 pic.twitter.com/A1Ehxh56wI
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 14, 2023
Most saw the Suns’ problems to be more about their personnel on the court rather than a coaching issue. Regardless, the new ownership group clearly feels like it is time to go in a different direction.