Monty Williams from Detroit Pistons Becomes Highest-Paid Coach in NBA History

Monty Williams from Detroit Pistons Becomes Highest-Paid Coach in NBA History

Posted on: June 1, 2023, 09:41h. 

Last updated on: June 1, 2023, 11:40h.

Monty Williams has agreed to coach the Detroit Pistons, inking a six-year contract that’s worth $78.5 million.

Monty Williams
Monty Williams, seen here on the sidelines as the head coach of the Phoenix Suns, becomes the highest-paid coach in the NBA after filling a vacancy with the Detroit Pistons. (Image: AP)

Williams will become the NBA’s highest-paid coach, even though he’s never won a championship. Williams guided the Phoenix Suns to a berth in the 2021 NBA Finals where they lost to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Pistons missed the playoffs in four consecutive seasons. They finished dead last in the Eastern Conference twice in the last three seasons and haven’t posted a winning season since 2015-16. The Pistons haven’t won a playoff series since the 2007-08 season. They qualified for the playoffs three times since then, but were eliminated in the opening round each time.

After winning the NBA Central Division title six times in seven seasons at the start of the new millennium, the Pistons haven’t claimed a division crown in 15 years.

The Pistons were the worst team in the NBA this past season with a 17-65 record. Despite having the worst record in the league, the Pistons were a big loser in the NBA Draft Lottery. They only secured the #5 pick in the upcoming 2023 NBA Draft. The San Antonio Spurs hit pay dirt by securing the #1 pick in the draft and the rights to draft French superstar Victor Wembanyama.

Monty Williams: The $13 Million Dollar Man

Williams will average $13.1 million a year to coach the Pistons over the next six seasons. Only four head coaches in American sports have a higher annual salary. Those four coaches are from the NFL, and each of them won at least one Super Bowl.

Bill Belichick earns $20 million per season as the head coach of the New England Patriots. Belichick led the Patriots to six Super Bowl victories and is widely considered the greatest coach in NFL history.

The Denver Broncos hired Sean Payton in the offseason, and their new head coach is set to earn $18 million a season. Payton led the New Orleans Saints to their only Super Bowl appearance and victory in franchise history during the 2009 season.

Pete Carroll from the Seattle Seahawks earns $15 million per season. Carroll guided the Seahawks to consecutive trips to the Super Bowl a decade ago, and he led the Seahawks to a victory in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Sean McVay earns $14 million per season as the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. McVay was considered a gridiron wunderkind, and began his career as the youngest head coach in NFL history at age 30. He led the Los Angeles Rams to two Super Bowl berths, securing his first championship in Super Bowl LVI.

Williams logged nine seasons as the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans between 2010 and 2015. He spent four seasons with the Phoenix Suns between 2019 and 2023.

Williams has a career record of 703-367. As the head coach of the Suns, Williams won 62.8% of his games, with a 194-115 record over the last four seasons.

Consecutive Playoff Exits Doomed Williams

Dwyane Casey stepped down as head coach of the Pistons to take a front office position. During his five seasons with the Pistons, Casey posted a 128-262 record. He led them to a postseason appearance in his first year as head coach, but the Pistons were swept by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Williams takes over a franchise that has become the doormat of the Eastern Conference. The Pistons have a roster that’s filled with talented yet inexperienced players. Williams is a former NBA player who is known around the league as a players’ coach. He fosters tight relationships with his players, which is how he helped turn around the Suns.

Williams posted a 27-19 record in the postseason with the Suns. However, two embarrassing losses in elimination games over the last two seasons stand out as his biggest failures.

The Suns entered the 2022 NBA playoffs with the #1 seed after they won a franchise-high 64 games in the regular season. They were blown out by the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals in an embarrassing performance where they were down by as many as 40-plus points.

The Suns secured the #4 seed in the 2023 NBA playoffs and were a popular betting favorite to win the Western Conference and the NBA title after adding all-star Kevin Durant in a trade. However, the Suns were embarrassed by the Nuggets in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals, and were down by as many as 30 points. Once again, the Suns failed to show up in an elimination game.

The Suns failed to meet expectations in the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, so new owner Mat Ishbia fired Williams less than 48 hours after their elimination.

Betting the Pistons Next Season

The Pistons are dead last on DraftKings’ futures board at +50000 odds to win the 2023-24 NBA championship. The outlook for next season is grim, according to bookmakers and bettors. But that’s precisely the reason the Pistons hired Williams.

Williams is tasked with elevating the Pistons into a playoff-caliber team after multiple seasons as a bottom-feeder, and maybe — just maybe — winning a championship at some point this decade.

The Pistons added three prospects through the draft in the last two seasons. That trio of lottery picks includes former #1 pick Cade Cunningham from the 2021 NBA Draft, guard Jaden Ivey, and center Jalen Duren.

The Pistons also added center James Wiseman, the #2 pick from the 2020 NBA Draft, in a trade last season with the Golden State Warriors. Power forward Marvin Bagley III logged five seasons in the NBA, and the #2 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft is only 24 years old.

The Pistons won the NBA championship on three occasions, including back-to-back victories with the Bad Boy Pistons at the end of the 1980s. After losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1988 NBA Finals, the Pistons finally beat the Lakers in the 1989 NBA Finals. They added a second-straight title with a victory against the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1990 NBA Finals.

The Pistons last won a title in the 2003-04 season. They advanced to the NBA Finals in 2005, but failed to repeat when they lost to the San Antonio Spurs.

The original Pistons were located in Fort Wayne, Ind., where they advanced to the NBA Finals twice in the mid-1950s without ever winning a title. They were the runner-up in the 1954-55 and 1955-56 seasons.

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