Pistons Fire Monty Williams: Replacement Candidates Linked

Monty Williams, Pistons, NBA
Mar 25, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Detroit Pistons head coach Monty Williams coaches against the New York Knicks during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Despite owing Monty Williams $65 million on his contract, the Detroit Pistons have fired him after just one season. The team must find a new head coach as the NBA Draft looms.

According to ESPN, Pistons president of basketball operations Trajan Langdon, who was appointed a month ago, communicated the decision, driven by team owner Tom Gores, to Williams on Wednesday morning. Langdon had been in ongoing discussions with Williams about the franchise’s future direction.

The Pistons suffered 68 losses last season as part of a broader trend of poor performance. This team has accumulated a winning percentage comparable to the Vancouver Grizzlies in the late 1990s, one of the worst in NBA history.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Monty Williams, Detroit Pistons Updates

As ESPN reported, Arn Tellem and Gores supported dismissing Williams and finding a new head coach so close to the NBA draft and free agency challenges Langdon. Fred Vinson, who previously worked with Williams and Langdon, has reportedly agreed to terms with the team.

After his departure from the Phoenix Suns, Williams signed a six-year, $78 million contract with the Detroit Pistons. Gores’ offer and vision for the Pistons’ rebuild swayed Williams from initially planning to take a break from coaching. The relationship between Williams and former general manager Troy Weaver was solid.

“We are unwavering in our commitment to bring a championship-caliber team to Detroit,” Gores said. “We will be diligent and swift in our search for a new head coach to lead our exciting young core of players and will continue our vision toward building a best-in-class front office that will help us achieve sustainable success.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Monty Williams, Detroit Pistons Updates

In the regular season’s final weeks, the Pistons finished with a league-worst 14-68 record, matching an NBA record. They are the worst team in the league with a record of 94-290 (.245) over the past five seasons. The upcoming NBA draft will feature the fifth pick for Detroit, one of the league’s youngest teams.

The Pistons are seeking a new coach, while the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers are also making decisions about their coaching searches. During his career, Williams has coached the Suns to the NBA Finals in 2021-22 with a 64-18 regular-season record and the New Orleans Pelicans to 173-221 (.439).

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Monty Williams, Detroit Pistons Updates

A few coaching candidates already set to interview with the Pistons include Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Sean Sweeney, Minnesota Timberwolves assistant coach Micah Nori, and former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach JB Bickerstaff. Other names are expected to be entered into the mix as possible options for Detroit.

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