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Pistons give Monty Williams up to $100 million not to take the next year off

Former Suns coach Monty Williams will make a ton of money with no expectations — the perfect job

2023 NBA Playoffs - Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

So much for taking a year off, eh?

Former Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams has accepted a deal to get paid the highest salary in the league to coach the woeful Detroit Pistons for the next few years.

He is guaranteed to make $78.6 million in the deal no matter how long he coaches them, and up to $100 million in the next eight years if he stays the whole time.

Williams will now make more money than 5-time champion Gregg Popovich and 4-time champion (as coach) Steve Kerr.

He will take over a Pistons team that boasts former No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham and a few other young players who just survived the worst record in the NBA at 17-65 under former Coach of the Year Dwayne Casey. Unfortunately, they had no lottery luck and dropped all the way to the 5th pick in the draft later this month.

This situation is similar to when Williams took over the Suns, who’d just finished a second-worst 19-win campaign, boasting the former No. 1 overall pick and a number of young players. The difference here is that the Pistons don’t have anyone approaching Devin Booker levels among those ranks.

Still, Williams is an excellent coach who did his best work under low expectations with a young roster. Now he’s got another chance. And a lot of time on the clock to get something good done.

In Phoenix, every single game had become a mini-Finals with microscopes, critics, TV and oddsmakers adding to the pressure on Williams and his team.

Now in Detroit, he’s got a guaranteed 6-year contract, more money than anyone but Bojan Bogdanovich on his roster, no expectations, no TV schedules to worry about. Just a group of young guys who need to learn how to win at the NBA level.

Back in Phoenix, there’s no dead money owed to the coach anymore. Williams’ Pistons deal more than offsets his Suns deal, so Ishbia has a clean slate with which to work.

Reportedly, the Suns are down to three candidates to replace Monty, two of them coming off salaries that exceeded Williams’ Suns salary, which had been the highest a Suns coach had ever been paid.

Make no mistake — the Suns have downgraded here if they pick any of the three candidates on their radar. I know Monty had his critics, and rightfully so come playoff time, but the people who ‘Monty can’t coach’ need to just stop it. Bad coaches don’t get money thrown at them left and right. Bad coaches don’t get courted by every single team with an opening immediately after getting fired. Monty Williams is an excellent basketball coach, and now the Suns are going to find out just how important coaching is.

It’s weird, isn’t it, that the Suns have yet to make a choice? They’ve been assistant Kevin Young for three years, and now could easily lose him to Monty’s staff in Detroit if he doesn’t get the top job here. On the open market, they interviewed Frank Vogel and Doc Rivers almost a week ago now. Maybe the Suns are targeting someone we haven’t heard about yet.

Either way, the Pistons have their coach and the Suns, who just fired a guy who every other team wanted and quickly got the most money in the league, are still looking for theirs.

Maybe he’ll take Landry Shamet with him?

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