It’s official: Detroit Pistons name Monty Williams head coach

The Detroit Pistons have officially announced that Monty Williams is their new head coach, and he is wasting no time.

Next week, the team intends to officially present the ex-New Orleans and Phoenix coach to the press. Williams has already begun arranging meetings with players and personnel, as stated in a statement released by the team on Friday.

He will have an impact on every aspect of our franchise, both on and off the court. He embodies all the qualities we want in a leader for our Pistons franchise, most importantly, being a mentor and teacher for our players. Pistons owner Tom Gores said, “I couldn’t be more proud to have Monty joining us at this important time, to lead us into the next decade of our future.”

After spending some time with Monty, it is clear that Gore is excited beyond belief, stating “This is a huge win for us.” He has found a unique balance between achieving victory at the highest level and nurturing a culture of growth.

Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson talks with Suns head coach Monty Williams during a game against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center, Dec. 4, 2019 in Orlando.

THE HUGE OPPORTUNITY: Inside the contract agreement that persuaded Monty Williams to accept the role of Pistons coach.

SHAWN WINDSOR: The Pistons made a remarkable move to acquire Monty Williams’ elegance, belief, and qualifications.

However, the Free Press obtained information from a team insider that this particular coaching deal is the most lucrative in NBA history, amounting to a guaranteed $78.5 million spread across six seasons. Nevertheless, the Pistons have chosen not to disclose the specifics of Williams’ contract.

If the Pistons decide to exercise his seventh-year option, the contract will surpass $90 million. The overall guaranteed sum is $78.5 million, which includes extra guaranteed funds linked to the seventh season. The average base salary for the initial six years comes to $12 million annually ($72 million), and the contract’s total worth might exceed $100 million due to additional incentives. There exist team choices for both a seventh and eighth season.

The agreement was finalized on Thursday, as stated by the team.

During this entire procedure, they demonstrated immense regard for me and my family. They prioritized the individual aspect of this venture and had a considerate strategy. After conversing with Tom and Troy (Weaver) and hearing their outlook for the Pistons moving ahead, I felt enthusiastic. However, I was uncertain about what lies ahead, expressed Williams in the team’s statement released a week ago.

He said, “They also showed a commitment to success and doing things the right way.” I realized that this would be a great opportunity for me to help build a strong culture and a talented young team here in Detroit, as we discussed our collective goals and the team. I am looking forward to being a part of this organization and city, as it is obviously a special place with a deep basketball history for my family.

As an assistant coach for Team USA, he achieved the feat of winning Olympic gold in 2016. Furthermore, he had the opportunity to coach in the NBA All-Star Game in 2022. Throughout his coaching career, his teams have made it to the playoffs five times, including a remarkable journey to the NBA Finals in 2021 and securing the top spot in the Western Conference in 2022. With a total of nine seasons as an NBA head coach, he has amassed a commendable record of 367-336 (.522) while leading both the Pelicans (2010-15) and Suns (2019-23) franchises. Notably, he is an alumnus of Notre Dame.

As a player, Williams spent parts of nine seasons in the NBA, averaging 6.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.2 assists over 456 games with the New York Knicks (1994-96), San Antonio Spurs (1996-98), Denver Nuggets (1998-99), Orlando Magic (1999-2002), and Philadelphia 76ers (2003). He made appearances in the NBA Finals in 2003 with the Pistons, reaching the semifinals of the Eastern Conference.

The coach who led the Nuggets to a disappointing second-round loss in the NBA Finals was fired by the Suns. Just a year after winning the NBA Coach of the Year Award and leading the Suns to a franchise-record 64 wins, Williams was removed.

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams speaks with Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) and forward Mikal Bridges (25) during Game 3 against the Dallas Mavericks in the conference semifinals at American Airlines Center, May 6, 2022 in Dallas.

DOLLAR SIGNS: The Pistons will be compensating Monty Williams significantly more than Nick Saban and John Calipari.

FROM PHOENIX: Detroit must strengthen Monty Williams to transform the Pistons into a dominant power.

Upon Williams’ arrival in the market, the Pistons had already conducted interviews with three finalists — Jarron Collins, an assistant from the New Orleans Pelicans, Charles Lee, an assistant from the Milwaukee Bucks, and Kevin Ollie, a former coach from UConn. They were in the process of bringing them to Los Angeles to meet with Gores. In the official statement, Troy Weaver, the general manager of the Pistons, expressed his astonishment at the sudden availability of Williams during the team’s ongoing search for a new coach to replace Dwane Casey, who had been coaching the Pistons for five seasons.

Weaver expressed, “Monty is the prototype. However, there were no other candidates in our process who were strong, which doesn’t mean that they were not qualified. When he suddenly became available, we immediately seized the opportunity to speak with him. We didn’t expect him, but Monty represented the ideal prototype for our young team.”

“Weaver stated that we are in search of a focused leader who possesses discipline in both defense and development. When we set out to find this individual, we will thoroughly assess his philosophy, experience, and capability. Additionally, he has a high character and is well-regarded by our veteran players. As he joins our team, he will serve as a great mentor and leader for our young core. It is evident that he has a strong conviction and displays exceptional character.”