NBA insider outlines scenario in which Monty Williams could take over Lakers

Jesse Cinquini
4 Min Read
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Windhorst of ESPN painted a picture for fans of the Los Angeles Lakers of a scenario where Monty Williams could become the newest head coach of the storied franchise.

“I would look at if — in the league, teams are watching the Detroit Pistons,” Windhorst said. “The Pistons are looking for a new president of basketball operations. They haven’t hired that guy yet. If that person gets hired, what happens with Monty Williams? Now, I know Monty has an $80 million, six-year contract, and maybe they bring him back. Maybe the person they hire brings him back.

“But if there’s a coaching change there, just remember, Monty was offered the Lakers job several years ago when they hired Frank Vogel. He took the [Phoenix] Suns job instead. I don’t necessarily think this is gonna happen. I don’t even know if Monty would even want the Laker job.

“But I’m just gonna say, if you’re a Laker fan, you’re dreaming of somebody else as coach, it ain’t gonna be Ty Lue. It ain’t gonna be Jason Kidd. It’s gonna take eight figures a year, I believe, to hire Mike Budenholzer. So, that’s where you gotta start with that. And plus, Mike Budenholzer typically wants to have a lot of say, a lot of control. We’ll see if the Lakers will be willing to offer that.”

The Lakers opted to fire head coach Darvin Ham after Los Angeles lost to the Denver Nuggets in five games in the opening round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs. The team’s lone win of the first-round series came in Game 4, when the Lakers beat the Nuggets by a final score of 119-108 behind a great game from star big man Anthony Davis, who dropped 25 points, 23 rebounds, six assists and one block while converting all but six of his 17 shot attempts from the floor.

The 2023-24 iteration of the Pistons under Williams was one of the worst teams in NBA history. After all, the Pistons were riding a 28-game losing streak at one point during the regular season, the longest losing streak in the history of the league.

Detroit snapped its lengthy losing streak with a win over the Toronto Raptors — who ended up 12th in the Eastern Conference with a record of 25-57 — back in late December.

The Pistons also finished the regular season with the NBA’s worst record at 14-68, though the Washington Wizards ended up just barely ahead of Detroit in the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 15-67.

Interestingly, Detroit won as many games on the road (7-35) as it did at home (7-33).

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Pistons had one of the least effective offenses in the NBA. Detroit ranked 27th in points per game (109.9), 24th in field-goal percentage (46.3) and was tied for last in 3-pointers made per contest (11.0).

It remains to be seen if the Lakers will seriously consider replacing Ham with Williams, but considering the lack of success that Williams experienced with the Pistons in the 2023-24 campaign, it’s understandable if Lakers fans feel uneasy at the thought of him becoming the team’s newest head coach.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.