Francisco Rosa May 14, 2023 Christian Petersen/Getty Images After letting go of 2021-22 NBA Coach of the Year Monty Williams on Sat...
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
After letting go of 2021-22 NBA Coach of the Year Monty Williams on Saturday night, the Phoenix Suns may have their eyes set on Clippers coach Tyronn Lue for their opening, according to insider Marc Stein.
Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
BREAKING: The Phoenix Suns dismissed coach Monty Williams, sources tell ESPN. Williams was a two-time NBA Coach of the Year in four seasons with Suns — including a trip to 2021 NBA Finals. Suns lost 6-game series to Nuggets in Western Semifinals. pic.twitter.com/bfMd6F1RJc
The firing of Williams sent shockwaves throughout the NBA community as he was the winningest coach in the league since 2021 and led the organization to an appearance in the NBA Finals in the 2021 season.
New governor Matt Ishbia is looking to switch things up, however, and may want someone with a championship pedigree like Lue.
In four seasons with the Suns, Williams had three winning campaigns and only missed the playoffs in his first year with the organization.
He led the team to an NBA-best 64-18 record in 2022 but was bounced out of the playoffs in the second round by the Dallas Mavericks in embarrassing fashion on their home floor.
It was a similar result in 2023 as Phoenix was knocked out of the postseason earlier than expected by the Denver Nuggets in Round 2, even with the acquisition of superstar Kevin Durant ahead of the trade deadline.
One could argue that the roster’s construction wasn’t the easiest for Williams to work with, as it was extremely top-heavy with stars like Durant, Devin Booker and Chris Paul but not much depth.
As for Lue, he just wrapped up his third season with a Clippers team that has its own set of issues, consistently dealing with injuries to its superstars in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
He has won at least 42 games in every season he’s been with the organization and led them to a conference finals appearance in 2021, where they lost to Williams and the Suns.
Ishbia got an up-close look at Lue earlier in the postseason during Phoenix’s first-round win over Los Angeles and must have clearly seen something that he liked.
In addition to being one of the league’s best coaches, Lue is perhaps best known for helping the Cleveland Cavaliers come back from a 3-1 deficit in the 2016 NBA Finals and leading the organization to its first title.