When the Phoenix Suns were undergoing a head coaching search after firing Igor Kokoskov, Monty Williams was reported to be a top target.
In that search, Suns owner Robert Sarver called former owner Jerry Colangelo for his thoughts on Williams, who Colangelo spent time with through USA Basketball.
“I did hear from Robert Sarver,” Colangelo told 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Burns & Gambo on Tuesday. “I was in Europe and I hadn’t heard from him in a long time and he asked me what I cared to share with him about Monty and I said he’s the whole package.”
Colangelo said Sarver and Williams met the next day, which was followed by Sarver thanking Colangelo for his time and informing him Williams was going to be the Suns’ hire.
Williams said on Bickley & Marotta after his introductory press conference Tuesday that Colangelo played a pivotal role in him accepting the job in Phoenix.
“Mr. Colangelo was the guy that really pushed me to work for Mr. Sarver and that said a lot because most people would think they wouldn’t get along and that’s contrary to what the reality is,” he said.
Colangelo, a four-time Executive of the Year award winner during his time with the Suns, rejected any notion of ill will towards Sarver.
“I can only speak for myself,” he said. “I never had any issue whatsoever with Robert Sarver.”
Colangelo heavily endorsed the hire of Williams, saying he “couldn’t be happier with the result.”
“When you’re with someone almost 24/7 for a month and a half two summers in a row, you get to know each other pretty well,” he said of time working alongside Wiliams for USA Basketball. “We had private time together. More importantly, I had a chance to really watch his work ethic on the court physically in the board room if you will, studying videotape, his insatiable appetite for information — he sat there with guys like Coach K, Coach Boeheim, just taking notes. Acting like a sponge.”
As Colangelo told Sarver, he believes Williams is the total package.
“At the end of the day, when you take a guy with great character — which he is, he’s as good as they come — who has that kind of a background as a player, who had incredible adversity that he overcame — everyone knows that story now about his heart condition and (being) told he would never play again — and then his coaching record,” Colangelo said.
“A good example is what he did specifically with Anthony Davis and helping him develop his game. I thought he was a perfect, perfect guy to take over this franchise because as much as anyone, I want to see the Suns succeed.”