NEW YORK – The Detroit Pistons are about to give Monty Williams the richest contract ever for an National Basketball Association (NBA) coach.
The former Phoenix Suns frontman agreed to a six-year, US$78.5 million (S$106 million) contract, The Athletic and ESPN reported on Wednesday.
According to The Athletic, the deal includes team options for the seventh and eighth seasons that, when combined with incentives, could push the deal’s total value north of US$100 million.
The reports come three weeks after the Pistons identified three finalists for their vacancy – Kevin Ollie, Jarron Collins and Charles Lee. But then Williams was fired by Phoenix.
Williams reportedly was owed US$21 million on the three remaining years of his contract with the Suns. Further, he previously told teams – including the Pistons – that he was going to take a year off with his family in the aftermath of his surprising ouster in Phoenix.
The Pistons are replacing Dwane Casey, who stepped down last month after five seasons as coach. Detroit went 17-65 in 2022-23, the worst record in the NBA, but wound up with the fifth overall pick after the draft lottery.
Williams, 51, went 194-115 in four seasons with the Suns and won Coach of the Year honours in 2021-22.
He led the Suns to the play-offs the last three seasons, going 27-19 in the post-season.
Williams also went 173-221 in five seasons as coach of the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans (2010-15).
Lee, 38, was the second choice in Detroit, according to The Athletic. He has been an assistant coach under Mike Budenholzer with Atlanta and Milwaukee for the past nine seasons. Budenholzer was fired by the Bucks early this month.
Ollie, 50, was the coach at the University of Connecticut from 2012-13 to 2017-18, leading the Huskies to a national title in 2013-14 but exiting with the stain of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) violations. Most recently, he was working in basketball development for Overtime Elite, a fledgling league for young players. REUTERS