The Phoenix Suns are in full off-season mode, strategically posturing and in the process of interviewing potential candidates for their vacant head coaching job. Is it down to five candidates? Are there more than five? Is James Jones leaking information to see where the holes exist within his organization?
Sources: The Phoenix Suns have narrowed their head coaching search to five finalists: Nick Nurse, Frank Vogel, Doc Rivers, Kings assistant Jordi Fernandez and Suns assistant Kevin Young.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 24, 2023
Phoenix has yet to reach final stage of interviewing candidates for its head coaching vacancy and are expected to meet with Milwaukee associate head coach Charles Lee and Golden State assistant Kenny Atkinson, sources tell @NBAonTNT, @BleacherReport.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 24, 2023
What? Conflicting information?! Well, I never! What do we know? It’s typical off-season strategy at its finest.
Whatever the case may be and whenever the final decision comes as to who will occupy the head coaching position, there’s one individual we know it won’t be. The Suns parted ways with Monty Williams after four seasons that saw the franchise go from a laughing stock to a viable contender.
“Everything you want is on the other side of hard,” Monty would say. I want to get paid not to work. I guess that is what is on the other sideof hard. And that’s exactly what Monty Williams is doing, and it’s rumored if that’s what he will continue to do next season.
Per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports:
“Williams was also recently pursued by Detroit for the Pistons’ job, sources said, which must have factored into a slowed result between Lee, Collins and Ollie. At this moment, it appears Williams is more likely to take the next season off, with three years and $21 million remaining on his Suns deal, than to return to the sidelines in a new situation.”
Do you blame him? The Suns are shelling out $21M to have him not coach their team? I’d take the year off as well.
Monty, who is a father of five children, has a son who is exploring the possibility of playing basketball at the collegiate level. Elijah Williams recently received an offer to play basketball at the University of Arizona is 2026.
Congrats to 2026 G Elijah Williams on his most recent offer from @ArizonaMBB @VerbalCommits @NikeEYB #THEBrotherhood #nikebasketball #UNITEDas1 pic.twitter.com/5dqIQP7hF1— Corey Boswell (@coach_cboswell) May 4, 2023
Elijah has reportedly received offers from Oregon and the University of California at Berkeley. The small forward, who attends Scottsdale Christian Academy, is currently listed as the third-best 2026 prospect by the ESPN Top 25.
So yeah, it makes sense that family-man Monty Williams is looking to take some time off and explore the options before, all while providing guidance and coaching to his son who is preparing to embark on his basketball journey.
This news surely dampers the spirits of organizations such as the Milwaukee Bucks or the Philadelphia 76ers. Shams Charania stated last week that the Bucks, “pursue Monty Williams from what I’m told, pretty aggressively”.
“The Bucks will pursue Monty Williams from what I’m told, pretty aggressively… He’s near or at the top of their list after they fired Mike Budenholzer”@ShamsCharania thinks there will be significant interest in Monty Williams in the marketplace#RunItBack pic.twitter.com/ZPcmOwDhyR— FanDuel TV (@FanDuelTV) May 15, 2023
The 76ers, who fired Doc Rivers following a deflating Game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, have ties to Monty. He was an assistant coach their under Brett Brown during the 2018-19 season.
As teams navigate their head coaching hunt, Monty’s name will continue to be mentioned. His resume over the past four years, despite some postseason yips, excites opposing organizations and fanbases. And, as noted above, you never know what information is true and what is being floating to garner a response.
Tis the season of misinformation.