According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, Suns head coach Monty Williams has locked in on his leading candidates to fill out the coaching staff: Steve Blake, Randy Ayers and Mark Bryant.
In Phoenix, meanwhile, Steve Blake (Blazers staff), Randy Ayres (Nets scout) and Mark Bryant (Thunder bench) have all emerged as top contenders to land on Monty Williams' coaching staff— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) May 24, 2019
If you dive deeper into the connections surrounding these three with Williams, it makes plenty of sense why they would be prioritized.
Blake had a 13-year career as a point guard bouncing around teams like Washington, Portland, Milwaukee, Denver, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State, and Detroit along the way. The 39-year-old coaching candidate had the opportunity to be taught by Williams one season with the Trail Blazers, and ironically enough Suns GM James Jones was on Portland’s roster at the same time. Most recently, Blake spent the year as a coaching intern with Portland. That’s a double whammy in terms of Phoenix-related connections.
Ayers has known Williams for years. The Suns’ head coach originally brought Ayers aboard his coaching staff when he was first hired in New Orleans nine years ago. He was Williams’ right hand man with the Hornets/Pelicans before changes were made in the Bayou. After Williams was let go, Ayers went and joined the front office side of things with the Brooklyn Nets as a college scout. The 63-year-old has remained in that role for four consecutive seasons.
Finally, Bryant’s connection as it relates to Williams stems back to their one year together on the Oklahoma City Thunder coaching staff. Williams was the Thunder’s associate head coach during the 2015-16 season before he had to leave this role due to the tragic death of his wife. Bryant has been involved with the Thunder before they even moved to Oklahoma City (that’s right, shoutout the Seattle SuperSonics), staying in his lead assistant role since 2007.
Altogether, these three names bring ample amounts of experience to Williams’ staff if they end up in the Valley. Blake was a journeyman who has a previous connection to Williams and Jones, while Ayers and Bryant both bring over 15 years of NBA coaching experience. All of a sudden, Phoenix would have one of the more experienced staffs they’ve put together over the past decade.