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Suns fire Monty Williams following 2nd-round exit

Garrett Ellwood / National Basketball Association / Getty

The Phoenix Suns fired head coach Monty Williams following their unceremonious second-round playoff exit versus the Denver Nuggets.

"Monty has been foundational to our success over the past four seasons," Suns general manager James Jones said in a news release. "We are filled with gratitude for everything Monty has contributed to the Suns and to the Valley community.

"While it was difficult for me to make this decision, I look forward to continuing the work to build a championship team."

While James claimed responsibility for the dismissal, it was new Suns owner Mat Ishbia who decided to fire Williams, reports ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Phoenix is now expected to explore the possibility of poaching Tyronn Lue from the Los Angeles Clippers, sources told NBA reporter Marc Stein. Other coaching candidates include Suns assistant coach Kevin Young, former Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, and former Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse, according to Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes, citing league sources.

The Suns trailed by 30 points at halftime of Game 6 against Denver before being eliminated, the second straight year they were blown out to end their season. Phoenix lost by 33 points at home to the Dallas Mavericks in a second-round Game 7 after entering the playoffs last year with the league's best record.

Williams was named Coach of the Year following the 2021-22 season after he led Phoenix to a 64-18 record. He helped the Suns make the NBA Finals in 2021 where they lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games.

The veteran head coach finishes his four-year tenure in Phoenix with a regular-season record of 194-115 (.628 winning percentage).

Williams previously spent time in Oklahoma City and Philadelphia as an assistant. He spent five years as head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans (then called the Hornets) from 2010 to 2015.

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