During a recent Detroit Pistons press conference to announce the hiring of new head coach Monty Williams, he was asked why he was taking the job and promptly responded, “Troy, the money and the players.”
The “Troy” that he was referring to is Pistons general manager Troy Weaver, a DMV native who played at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C., and at Prince George’s Community College.
Williams is also a product of the area having played at Potomac High School in Oxon Hill, Maryland, before having a standout career at Notre Dame. The two were together in 2015-16 at OKC when Williams served as associate head coach and Weaver as an executive.
Williams was drafted by the New York Knicks with the 24th pick in 1994, playing for nine years before retiring in 2003. His coaching career featured stops at the Portland Trail Blazers as an assistant coach, as head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, as an assistant at OKC and at the 76ers before landing the head coaching job with the Suns in 2019.
Weaver is credited with building the OKC franchise into one of the tops in the league from 2008 to 2020 as an executive there. He put together a franchise that featured the drafting of future Hall of Famers James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
Williams has taken on a similar task with the Pistons as he had with the Suns, who were at one time, of the youngest teams in the league. The current Pistons are one of the youngest teams in the NBA.
But in professional sports, people have short memories. After a second straight West semifinals exit in the playoffs this year, Williams was let go by the Suns, just two years removed from leading them to the NBA Finals and being named Coach of the Year in 2021-22.
Initially, the Detroit Pistons reached out to him, but due to health concerns with his wife (she was diagnosed with breast cancer) and the shock of being let go, Williams declined the Pistons’ offer and declared that he needed to take some time off.
Meanwhile, his wife was re-diagnosed and the results were promising. After some thought, Williams reconsidered and was rewarded with a six-year, $78 million contract, making him the highest-paid coach in the NBA.
“I’m just grateful God has blessed me with these opportunities to not only play in the NBA but to coach,” he said. ”I’m grateful for the trust that Troy had in me. It’s been a great partnership, going back to Oklahoma City and to be here to be here with him now is a true blessing.”
Weaver weighed in on the excitement of having Williams.
“We’re excited,” Weaver said. “Monty arriving here is huge for our franchise. Think about this: We didn’t have the best record in the league — in fact, the worst (17-65) — yet teams with the best records in the league were after this guy. He decided to partner with us and lead the charge.”
Other NBA Notes
Over the past 16 seasons, Jeff Green has played for 12 different teams. For the former standout from Northwestern High School and Georgetown University, it all paid off when, as a member of the Denver Nuggets, he earned his first world championship.
The consummate pro, Green has always been an asset in a league where the career life of players averages less than five years.
Washington Wizards fans will no longer be cheering for their former franchise player Bradley Beal. Beal has been traded to the Phoenix Suns where he will team with a couple of All-Stars in the locally bred Kevin Duran and Devin Booker. The three-time NBA All-Star was drafted in the first round with the third pick in 2012.