The Detroit Pistons announced Wednesday that they were firing coach Monty Williams after one season. Williams signed a six-year, $78 million contract with the team last offseason, but that historic deal will end prematurely after a horrid 14-68 season.

“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.”

Williams is reportedly not in the running for the open Lakers position and may take a break before pursuing another coaching job. After leaving the Suns in 2023, Williams was originally going to sit out last season to spend time with his wife, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. The Pistons still owe him the $65 million remaining on his contract.

With his early dismissal from Detroit, Williams’ bizarre head coaching career in the NBA continues. Despite leading the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals in the 2021-22 season and winning Coach of the Year honors, he was fired in 2023.

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Gores personally convinced Williams to take over in Detroit, but team ownership was also reportedly behind the decision to let him go. Williams had been discussing the team’s future with the front office since the season ended under the assumption that he would retain control next year.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed Wednesday that Williams was blindsided by the news.

“I’m told that he is not ready to necessarily just jump right into another job … he wants to coach again, but I think it’s pretty raw today,” Wojnarowski said.

The Pistons’ problems on the court go beyond a single bad season, as the team has flown through coaching regimes and does not possess the draft capital necessary to rebuild. Gores’ decision to sign Williams to an exorbitant contract followed almost immediately by the decision to fire him is a classic sign of a disorganized franchise. The way forward from here is profoundly unclear.

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