NBA champion backs Monty Williams, says Suns will hire White coach ‘so he can get all the credit’

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NBA champion Stephen Jackson is not a fan of the Phoenix Suns choosing to part ways with head coach Monty Williams. 

Williams, who won the NBA’s Coach of the Year in 2022, was fired on Saturday after four seasons as head coach of the Suns. 

His dismissal came after back-to-back blowout losses in the 2022 and 2023 NBA Playoffs, ending the Suns’ season in both years. 

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On the “I Am Athlete” podcast, Jackson said he felt the Suns should have given Williams more time with the roster following the acquisition of Kevin Durant during the middle of the season. 

“Absolutely not. You bring this team together at the end of the year, I don’t care if you have KD [Kevin Durant] or not. Chemistry still matters. I don’t care what stars you have,” Jackson said when asked if the firing was the right move. “Chemistry still matters. They still need time. Even I said, if they lose, they was going to give this team another year, minus CP3 [Chris Paul]. I said that. Give this team another year to have a whole season of training camp and all this together to see if they can pull it off. 

“I didn’t think they was gonna get rid of the coach. I think he was the right coach for the job. But you know how they do. When teams come together like this, they quick to go and find a White coach, somewhere around, just throw him in that position, so he can get all the credit. I don’t care. Ya, I said it. They do it too much.”

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Williams was hired by the Suns in 2019 and took Phoenix to the NBA Finals during the 2020-21 season. 

“Every time a black coach comes into the league, he gets the worst team in the league to start his career off,” Jackson said.

“But situations like this, they always find a White coach somewhere around — just like they did Steve Nash in Brooklyn — going to throw him in a spot where the team is really already basically together,” he continued. “I think Monty Williams is a great coach and that’s why in the next day or two, you’re going to see him coaching somewhere else. 

“They did Monty wrong. They know they shouldn’t have done that.”

Williams is one of three coaches to have made the playoffs this season to be fired after the year. 

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer, who defeated the Suns to win the 2021 NBA Finals, was fired following Milwaukee’s first-round exit to the Miami Heat. 

On Tuesday, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers was fired after three seasons, as the Sixers failed to make it past the second round of the NBA Playoffs for the third consecutive year. 

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