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Williams had a 194-115 record in four seasons with the Suns and won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award last season after Phoenix won 64 games. In 2021, he helped lead the franchise to its first NBA Finals appearance in nearly 20 years.
New Suns owner Matt Ishbia made the decision to fire Williams two days after losing to the Denver Nuggets in six games in the Western Conference semifinals.
Ishbia, who bought the team in December, made an early turnaround with the blockbuster acquisition of Kevin Durant at the trade deadline in February. However, a sprained ankle sidelined Durant for all but eight games before the start of the postseason and both Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton went down with injuries during the playoffs.
The Suns’ season ended in a 125-100 loss at the hands of the Nuggets, their second blowout loss in an elimination game in as many years. Williams took responsibility for the loss after the game.
“I take it personally, our team wasn’t ready to play in the biggest game of the year,” Williams said. “That’s something I’m proud of, and that didn’t happen. … It’s something I have to take a deep look at in everything I do.”
Phoenix will compete with the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks as they begin the search to replace Williams, both heading into the summer with head coaching vacancies.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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