Who Are Top Candidates to Replace Monty Williams as Suns Coach?

Who Are Top Candidates to Replace Monty Williams as Suns Coach?
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The Phoenix Suns are in the market for a new head coach for the first time since 2019, after the team parted ways with Monty Williams over the weekend.

Williams exits the Valley after going 194-115 (.628). He won the NBA Coach of the Year award in 2022, thanks to taking Phoenix to a franchise-record 64 wins.

Williams met his undoing in the postseason, however, with Phoenix losing series to Dallas and Denver in decisive fashion in each of the past two years.

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Denver and the L.A. Lakers open the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday, with the Nuggets favored at Arizona sportsbooks to win the series.

Phoenix will likely have no shortage of candidates for its coaching vacancy thanks to having former most valuable player Kevin Durant and franchise cornerstone Devin Booker under contract for the upcoming year.

BetArizona.com — home to Arizona sports betting promos for the NBA playoffs — assigned hypothetical odds on who will replace Williams as the Suns’ 21st head coach.

Suns Head Coaching Candidate Odds

Candidate Odds (% Chance)
Nick Nurse (former Toronto head coach)+150 (40%)
Mike Budenholzer (Former Milwaukee, Atlanta head coach)+250 (28.6%)
Tyronn Lue (L.A. Clippers head coach)+400 (20%)
Kevin Young (Suns associate head coach)+900 (10%)
Doc Rivers (Philadelphia head coach)+1900 (5%)
Jason Kidd (Dallas head coach)+2400 (4%)
Tom Izzo (Michigan State head coach)+5000 (2%)
Steve Nash (former Brooklyn head coach)+9900 (1%)
Odds provided by BetArizona.com and not available on Arizona sports betting apps.

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Nurse Leads Field of Experienced Candidates

Anytime you can go out and land a former NBA champion, you’d be wise to do so, which is exactly what Suns’ GM James Jones can do this offseason.

With 2019 NBA champion Nick Nurse and 2021 championship coach Mike Budenholzer recently getting fired in Toronto and Milwaukee, Jones can hire a proven winner with either coach.
There’s also a decent shot a current NBA head coach like Tyronn Lue of the L.A. Clippers, Doc Rivers of Philadelphia or Mavericks coach Jason Kidd gets the green light to move to the Valley.

The ability of the Suns to pry any of the three away from their current employers rests on whether the Clippers, 76ers or Mavericks are able to sign them to contract extensions, which would keep them in their respective cities long term.

After that, there’s a shot Jones and company could go after the man that coached new owner Matt Ishbia in college (Tom Izzo) or former franchise cornerstone guard Steve Nash this offseason.

Izzo has been bandied about as a possible NBA head coaching candidate for years, though he’s reiterated time and again he’s happier in East Lansing, where he’s won 687 games in 28 seasons with the Spartans.

Nash would be a longshot to coach the Suns, given his tumultuous history with Durant in Brooklyn and the falling out the two had during their brief stint together.

Regardless of who gets picked, the next coach of the Suns will have a talent-laden roster that’s coming off three straight trips to the playoffs.



Christopher Boan is the lead writer at BetArizona.com after covering sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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