PHOENIX (AP/FOX 10) - Philadelphia 76ers assistant Monty Williams will be the new coach of the Phoenix Suns, replacing Igor Kokoskov, who was fired last week after one disappointing season.
The Suns announced Friday that they had come to terms with Williams, who will join Phoenix after the 76ers complete their run in the NBA playoffs. The 76ers have a 2-1 lead over Toronto in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
"Monty brings a wealth of NBA experience, both as a coach and former player, in addition to being a high-character individual who will infuse basketball wisdom and life lessons into our locker room," Suns general manager James Jones said in a release announcing the move. "Monty is well respected for his coaching pedigree, leadership and commitment to the community, all of which make him the ideal person to lead our team moving forward."
The 47-year-old Williams has previous head coaching experience, spending five seasons in charge in New Orleans from 2010 to 2015, a stint during which he led the franchise to two postseason appearances. He is in his first season as an assistant coach with the 76ers. He also played nine years in the NBA, including time with New York, San Antonio, Denver, Orlando and Philadelphia.
Williams takes over a team that has been mired in mediocrity, missing the playoffs for nine straight seasons. The Suns finished 19-63 this season, Kokoskov's only year in the desert.
Williams released the following statement:
"I'm honored to become head coach of the Phoenix Suns and very grateful to Robert Sarver and James Jones for entrusting me with the opportunity. I am also thankful to the 76ers organization for their support throughout the process and remain committed to pursuing the goals we set out to achieve this season.
I've been blessed to coach alongside and play for some of the best coaches in the NBA, and consider it a privilege to once again be a head coach with an excellent organization like the Suns. It is a tremendous opportunity with a talented group of players and a loyal fan base. I will be very excited to get to the Valley, connect with our team and get to work."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.