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Pistons fire head coach 1 year after giving him richest deal in NBA history

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A little more than one year ago, the Detroit Pistons made Monty Williams the richest head coach in NBA history, inking him to a six-year deal worth $78.5 million. Today, they are looking for someone else to take over.

After going an NBA-worst 14-68, which included a record 28-game losing streak, the Pistons fired Williams on Wednesday.

Head coaching contracts are guaranteed, which means Williams is still owed $65 million over the next five seasons.

“Decisions like these are difficult to make, and I want to thank Monty for his hard work and dedication,” Pistons owner Tom Gores said in a statement. “Coaching has many dynamic challenges that emerge during a season and Monty always handled those with grace. However, after reviewing our performance carefully and assessing our current position as an organization, we will chart a new course moving forward.”

“We are unwavering in our commitment to bring a championship-caliber team to Detroit,” Gores continued. “We will be diligent and swift in our search for a new head coach to lead our exciting young core of players and will continue our vision towards building a best-in-class front office that will help us achieve sustainable success.”

It was the second season in a row the Pistons owned the association’s worst record; they went 17-65 last year. To make matters worse, the Draft Lottery did not work out in their favor this year or last. Detroit got the fifth selection in 2023, missing out on generational talent Victor Wembanyama, and the team will again select fifth later this month.

Monty Williams vs Mavericks

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It’s been a wild ride for Williams in recent years, who headed to Detroit after going to the NBA Finals with the Phoenix Suns in 2021 and winning the NBA’s Coach of the Year Award the following year, but he was then canned in 2023.

Coupled with their losing streak, the Pistons never won three games in a row this season (or last), and the roster was constantly in flux. Detroit used 31 different players over the course of the season and 36 different starting lineups, and lost 39 times by double digits.

Monty Williams talks to Pistons players

The vacancy in Detroit is the third active one in the NBA, with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers still seeking coaches. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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