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NBA Suns fire Williams as coach after play-off exit: reports

Monty Williams went 194-115 in four seasons with the Suns. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES – Monty Williams, last season’s National Basketball Association (NBA) Coach of the Year, has been fired as coach of the Phoenix Suns after their second-round play-off loss to Denver, according to multiple reports Saturday.

Williams went 194-115 in four seasons with the Suns, but ESPN and The Athletic reported he was dumped, citing unnamed sources, only two days after the Denver Nuggets ousted the Suns 4-2 in their best-of-seven series.

The visiting Nuggets prevailed 125-100 in a must-win game for the Suns, who trailed by 30 points at halftime.

New Suns owner Mat Ishbia made the decision to fire Williams on Saturday, ESPN reported.

The Suns made a blockbuster deal to obtain Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets at the February trade deadline but an ankle injury limited him to only eight regular-season games for Phoenix.

Williams, who has an overall NBA coaching record of 367-336 in five seasons with New Orleans and four with the Suns, had guided the Suns into the 2021 NBA Finals, where they lost to Milwaukee, before Phoenix went down in the second round the past two seasons.

With Durant and Devin Booker signed to long-term deals, the Suns will be an attractive destination for any coach.

Williams, 51, joins Toronto’s Nick Nurse and Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer as coaches to be fired this year after being voted NBA Coach of the Year over the past five seasons. AFP