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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Robert Marvi

Should the Lakers try to hire Monty Williams as head coach?

For at least the last few weeks, the Los Angeles Lakers’ head coaching search has mostly been focused on two men: JJ Redick and James Borrego. They made a brief run at Dan Hurley earlier this month, but he turned down their generous offer and decided to stay at the University of Connecticut.

All in all, the available head coaching candidates haven’t been that attractive. There was a faint hope after the Lakers fired Darvin Ham that Tyronn Lue, who they wanted to hire back in 2019, may become available. But Lue instead agreed to a contract extension to remain with the Los Angeles Clippers.

On Wednesday, the Detroit Pistons fired Monty Williams after just one season as their head coach. Williams may not be an elite coach, but he has plenty of experience, and as both an assistant and head coach, he has worked with stars such as Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Joel Embiid, Devin Booker and Chris Paul.

Immediately, some wondered if the Lakers should or would go after Williams. After all, he had also coached Anthony Davis during his time as the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans’ head coach.

ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith urged L.A. to consider him during an episode of “First Take” on Wednesday (h/t Lakers Daily).

“I also wanna say this,” Smith said in reaction to the news of the Pistons firing Williams. “I know we’ve been talking a lot about J.J. Redick, but with Monty Williams available, that is a situation that the Los Angeles Lakers should look at, okay? So, I would definitely say that as well. They should look at it.”

However, NBA insider Shams Charania said on “The Pat McAfee Show” that Williams doesn’t appear to be a candidate for the Lakers’ head coaching gig.

“Monty Williams was definitely in play with the Lakers in 2019. They went and hired Frank Vogel. It was really down to Ty Lue, they missed out on Ty Lue, they missed out on Monty Williams then they go hire Frank Vogel. There’s been interest there in the past. I have not heard, obviously this has just happened with Monty Williams, there’s been rumblings that this was possible because of the fact that Trajan Langdon got the autonomy to eat whatever money he needs to do for Monty Williams, it’s $65 million. I have not gotten the sense yet that Monty Williams is in the picture here, but he is a two-time Coach of the Year.”

The Lakers apparently would prefer a head coach who is experienced, and they have reportedly been looking to prioritize Davis over LeBron James during this search. That would make it seem as if they should at least consider Williams as a candidate.

Just three years ago, he did a terrific job with the Phoenix Suns, guiding them to the NBA’s best record and an appearance in the NBA Finals. His Pistons had the league’s worst record this year at 14-68, but most of that wasn’t his fault, as they have arguably the worst roster in pro basketball.

Williams was a leading candidate for the Lakers’ head coaching job in 2019 after Luke Walton left. But he instead decided to go to the Suns, leading to L.A. hiring Frank Vogel, who drove them to the world championship in just his first season on the job.

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