The Detroit Pistons have come to terms on an agreement with Monty Williams to become their next head coach, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The pact is sizable, with the Pistons coming to the table with a guaranteed $78.5 million, six-year contract, plus two additional team option years that could take it to $100 million, sources said. Pistons owner Tom Gores, as he was in the case of Dwane Casey in 2018, was heavily involved in the courtship of Williams after he hit the coaching market weeks ago.
The Pistons were in discussions with Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Charles Lee and Overtime Elite’s Kevin Ollie, and Lee had taken the pole position of the two. The Pistons initially made overtures to Williams, but Williams seemed unsure about coaching this season and looked to take the year off.
The relationship between Pistons general manager Troy Weaver and Williams goes back to Williams’ time in Oklahoma City, and Gores kept in contact with Williams over the past few days, as Williams began to reconsider coaching next season.
It was then that the Pistons started to feel more optimistic and prepared their first offer for Williams; things began to move quickly after that, with the parameters of a deal being discussed over the weekend.
“We kept the conversation warm,” a source said.
Gores and Williams met in Los Angeles on Sunday as momentum was gathering. Gores had also met multiple times with Lee and Ollie through this long process. Lee and Ollie would’ve been first-time head coaches.
Williams has a track record Gores focused on, particularly as the Pistons identified tenets for their next head coach: defense, discipline and development.
Williams took the Phoenix Suns to within two wins of a championship, then led them to the NBA's best record in 2021-22. The Suns hadn’t been to the playoffs since 2010 before Williams’ arrival, and the season before he got there, they won just 19 games.
The Pistons haven’t won a playoff game since 2008 and have been in a full rebuild for the past few years. They expected to make a jump this past season, but when Cade Cunningham was lost to early season surgery, they were in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes — tied for the best odds for the NBA Draft's top pick.
In the end, they dropped to fifth in the lottery and will either add another young player to their trove or perhaps package the pick for a veteran. In addition to Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren made strides through the season and registered on the All-Rookie second team.
The Pistons believe Williams will develop their young core. They think they have the best coach on the market and put their money where it counted to woo Williams back to the sideline.