Count Doc Rivers among the many league veterans dismayed by the Phoenix Suns’ abrupt dismissal of Monty Williams. Asked to address his longtime friend’s firing before Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday, the Philadelphia 76ers’ coach provided a perfectly pithy response.
“Don’t win coach of the year, I’m telling you,” Rivers, who spoke to Williams shortly after the news first broke, said, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic. It doesn’t go well historically.”
The Suns parted ways with Williams on Saturday, less than 48 hours after new owner Mat Ishbia watched his team’s season end with a blowout loss to the Denver Nuggets at Footprint Center. Phoenix’s 125-100 loss to Denver was eerily reminiscent of its embarrassing home loss to the Dallas Mavericks to close-out 2022-23, another do-or-die matchup the Suns trailed by a whopping 30 points at halftime.
Williams won Coach of the Year in 2021-22, the same season he led Phoenix to the NBA Finals for the first time in nearly 30 years. Rivers was named Coach of the Year in 2000 after his first year with the Orlando Magic, but was fired early in the 2003-04 season.
The specific manner of Phoenix’s postseason exit was certainly rough, but it’s hardly surprising the team fell short of beating the top-seeded Nuggets, who were clicking on all cylinders late in the series. Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton both missed Game 6 with injuries, sapping the already thin Suns of workable depth around Devin Booker and Kevin Durant.
Will a new coach take Phoenix to heights Williams never could? Ishbia certainly seems to think so. The decision to fire Monty Williams was reportedly the billionaire mortgage lender and former Michigan State walk-on’s alone, just like the Suns’ blockbuster, franchise-altering acquisition of Durant at the trade deadline.
The post Doc Rivers’ snarky reaction to Suns firing Monty Williams appeared first on ClutchPoints.