Monty Williams agrees to record deal to be next head coach of the Detroit Pistons

After nearly two months of searching, the Detroit Pistons connected on their home run swing to address their vacant head coach position.

Former Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams is expected to sign a contract with the Pistons worth north of $10 million annually within the next few days, a source with knowledge of the deal told the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday night. The incentive-laden deal will make Williams, the 2022 NBA Coach of the Year, one of the NBA's highest-paid coaches.

ESPN reports the deal is for six years and $78.5 million, which would make him the highest-paid coach in NBA history. The Athletic reports there are team options for a seventh and eighth year, and incentives that could increase the deal to $100 million.

The Pistons initially made contact with Williams two weeks ago after the NBA draft lottery, but sources say he turned the team down and intended to take a year off. But the Pistons remained interested, and eventually returned to the table with Williams in recent days with a big offer.

Williams is viewed internally as a home run hire following his tenure in Phoenix, during which he was the NBA's winningest coach since 2021 and compiled a 194-115 record after taking over a Suns team at the tail end of a rebuild.

Monty Williams has agreed to a big-time deal to be the next coach of the Detroit Pistons.
Monty Williams has agreed to a big-time deal to be the next coach of the Detroit Pistons.

The Pistons, stocked with young talent and armed with around $30 million in cap space and the fifth overall pick in this year's draft, are looking to turn the corner next season following three years of rebuilding.

But hiring Williams is a pivot away from Detroit's initial three finalists — Milwaukee Bucks assistant Charles Lee, New Orleans Pelicans assistant Jarron Collins and former UConn men's basketball head coach Kevin Ollie. All three candidates interviewed with team owner Tom Gores in Los Angeles earlier in May.

Ultimately, Williams' proven success on the court and reputation as a leader was too enticing for the Pistons to pass on.

Williams is the Pistons' third straight coach with extensive experience as an NBA head coach. Dwane Casey ended his coaching tenure after five years at the end of the 2022-23 regular season. Casey previously was the coach of the Toronto Raptors. Prior to Casey, the Pistons handed the franchise over to Stan Van Gundy (formerly with the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic) when they named him head coach and president of basketball operations.

The Suns, who extended Williams' contract just last summer, made a big splash around the trade deadline this year when they sent several first-round picks and a package of players to the Brooklyn Nets for Kevin Durant, just hours after new owner and Michigan native Mat Ishbia took over.

When the Suns fell short of those expectations and were blown out, 125-100, in Game 6 of the second round of the playoffs against the Denver Nuggets, the Suns ultimately decided to move on from Williams.

The Pistons finished with an NBA-worst record of 17-65 this season. They own the No. 5 overall pick in June's draft.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Pistons hiring Monty Williams as next head coach in historic deal