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Monty Williams Fired: Williams Firing Shows the Dysfunction of the Pistons

Publish Date: 04/07/2024
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

You don’t have $65 million to flush away. I don’t have $65 million to flush away. Few people do. But one of the people who can toss away that much cabbage is Tom Gores, owner of the basketball team called the Detroit Pistons.

Last week, Gores axed head coach Monty Williams following one season in that position. That means Williams will still collect $65 million of the record $78 million, six-year contract he bamboozled Gores for.

Yep, Monty got a great deal: oodles of money to not coach a basketball team.

Notice I haven’t called the Pistons an NBA team. I chose to call them a basketball team. Which they certainly are. The players wear shorts and tank tops. They lace up sneakers, run up and down a court, and toss the basketball through the air in the direction of a metal hoop adorned with a nylon net. That’s about all the basketball you get from these Pistons.

Why Was Monty Williams Fired?

“NBA” is a term that should be reserved for teams that compete in that professional league. The Detroit Pistons did not compete last season. They just showed up. That’s why Monty is gone. But Gores is to blame.

The Pistons won 14 games during the 2023-24 season. That’s unremarkable. But it’s actually also amazing: because it’s astounding the team managed to win 14 games at all.

  1. Last Halloween Eve, the Pistons lost by 12 points to the Thunder to drop their record to 2-2. Given the roster and a new coach, it seemed like a decent start to the season. But, no one could have been prepared for the Hoop Horror Show that followed.
  2. The Pistons lost their next 27 games after October 30, to set an NBA record with 28 consecutive defeats.

Their next win didn’t come until December 30 against the Raptors, a team ravaged by injuries.

All during the embarrassing, shocking, inexplicable 28-game losing skid, Williams stood like a stoic statue on the sidelines. Like Mr. Spock, the Detroit coach seemed incapable of emoting. Like a carpenter with no tools, he seemed to be trying to use his fingers to hammer down a nail.

His lineup decisions and postgame remarks grew sillier and more unexplainable. The fanbase of this once-proud franchise slowly drifted away.

The Pistons Fired Monty Williams After Just One Season

That’s why Gores had to fire Williams. There’s a way to be terrible, and there’s a way to be terrible but learn from it. Williams was never a teacher, never capable of crafting his young roster into a competitive bunch.

He didn’t steal Tom Gores' money, but he may as well wore a mask every 15th of the month when those big paychecks came.

Monty Williams Contract

Gores is to blame for the dysfunction of the Pistons. He’s now on the hook for $65 million to a man who only coached 82 games and one season of what was supposed to be a six-year commitment.

Instead of shaping the Pistons into a playoff team, Williams, to borrow a line from the legendary Ernie Harwell, “stood there like the house by the side of the road,” and watched a miserable season go by.

Monty Williams Was Paid $4.6 Million per Win

Gores has crazy money. He’s a billionaire, maybe twice over. He’s one of the richest, if not the richest single person who owns a basketball team on this continent. He clearly doesn’t think $65 million is anything to worry about. He may have misplaced that much in his leather couch in one of his many mansions.

But, even a billionaire can feel the sting of bad decisions.

Gores has hired Trajan Langdon to be his head of basketball operations, which is one of the titles Williams held. Langdon is, according to Gores, what he’s always needed, “a CEO.

Yes, that’s really what Gores said during the presser announcing Langdon’s arrival in the Motor City.

The thing about rich people is that they can spend their way out of dumb decisions. They are rarely held accountable. Gores can pay Williams to stay at home, mow his grass, and watch the NBA on television. Gores can fill his front office with his favorite basketball minds. He can pay whomever Langdon hires as his next head coach. But he can’t buy back the fan base.

Pistons fans have three championships to remember. The team was twice a dynasty, with Hall of Fame players, and even a Hall of Fame coach. If only they could find a man like Chuck Daly.

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