Raptors rumors: Toronto interested in hiring Monty Williams as coach

DENVER, COLORADO - MAY 09: Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - MAY 09: Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Just when it looked like the Toronto Raptors were moving into the next phase of their head coaching search, the Phoenix Suns had to drop a late-night bombshell. Head coach Monty Williams, who won coach of the year just two seasons ago, has been let go by Phoenix.

Just two years ago, Williams and Mike Budenholzer were coaching against one another in the NBA Finals. After Suns owner Mat Ishiba made an executive decision to step in and remove Williams of his duties, both of them are seeking gainful employment, potentially with the Raptors.

The Raptors, according to Adrian Wojnarowski, are among the teams specifically mentioned as having interest in naming Williams their next head coach. The Bucks still need a Budenhozler replacement, and Williams’ experience will appeal to them, so they will likely be considered competition for his services.

While some Raptors fans would prefer to hire an up-and-coming assistant with a treasure trove of new ideas and perspectives to bring to the table, an equally big segment of the fanbase is likely eyeing an experienced coach who has been there and done that before.

Toronto Raptors rumors: Raptors eyeing Monty Williams.

Williams went 194-115 as coach of the Suns, good for a winning percentage right below 63% in his four-season stint. Phoenix finished top 10 in both points scored and fewest points allowed in the two seasons prior to this one. Their 17th-place finish in 2023 is deceiving, as the Kevin Durant trade had them performing much better when he was healthy.

Williams is one of the most respected figures in the coaching ranks, and he has a history of being able to work with star players and getting the most out of them. If the Raptors want someone to help Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes, he makes sense.

Before he landed in Phoenix, which had a future Hall of Famer in Chris Paul and the league’s best shooting guard in Devin Booker, Williams was below .500 in five seasons as coach of the Hornets and won just two playoff games. If there was a reason to decide against hiring him, that would be it.

The Raptors will not be alone in their pursuit of Williams due to his lengthy resume, but they have several ingredients needed to make a very compelling offer to him. Time will tell if Ujiri is a savvy enough negotiator to ensure Williams comes north for the 2023 season.

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