It took just three weeks for Monty Williams to land another job.
The former New Orleans Pelicans coach accepted a position as a lead assistant for the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night, Yahoo Sports reported.
Williams spent five seasons coaching New Orleans’ NBA franchise, including a 45-win season last year that earned the team its first trip to the playoffs since Williams’ first campaign in 2010-11. But entering as a No. 8 seed and suffering a four-game sweep to the Golden State Warriors wasn’t enough for Williams to keep his job.
General Manager Dell Demps and executive vice president Mickey Loomis chose to replace him with recently named head coach Alvin Gentry, who then added assistants Darren Erman and Robert Pack this week.
Where Williams’ hiring could benefit the Pelicans most is the potential of offsetting money. Following his firing, New Orleans owed Williams the remaining money left on the final year of his contract, but by signing with the Thunder, those payments likelywill decrease by the amount Oklahoma City is paying him.
Terms of Williams’ contract were not disclosed.
This is the most high-profile move for Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan since he came to the NBA this offseason, after winning a pair of national championships and making four trips to the Final Four in 19 seasons at Florida.
Now he’s adding a veteran coach to help smoothe the transition into the NBA.
Williams became intimately familiar with the Thunder this season as the Pelicans chased down Oklahoma City for the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs, clinching on the last day of the season. The Thunder will look different come October when All-Stars Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka return from injuries that derailed the 2014-15 campaign and are expected to compete at the top of the West standings.
Alongside Williams, Donovan also is reportedly adding former Alabama coach Anthony Grant to his staff. Grant worked under Donovan at Florida and was fired by the Crimson Tide this offseason.