Report: Suns HC Monty Williams Enters COVID-19 Protocols, out for Game vs. Grizzlies

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 27, 2021

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams will miss his team's home game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday after entering the NBA's health-and-safety protocols, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Williams is now one of four NBA head coaches in COVID-19 protocols alongside the Los Angeles Lakers' Frank Vogel, the Chicago Bulls' Billy Donovan and the Portland Trail Blazers' Chauncey Billups, per Wojnarowski

Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle and Sacramento Kings interim head coach Alvin Gentry are back on the sidelines after entering the protocols earlier this year.

Suns associate head coach Kevin Young is the highest-ranking member on staff sans Williams. Young was out for four games earlier this year after entering the league's health-and-safety protocols.

Wojnarowski reported that Young is the "likely" choice to take over for Williams as the acting head coach.

Williams, 50, just led the Suns to their first NBA Finals appearance since 1993. He earned the NBCA Coach of the Year Award after leading Phoenix to a 51-21 regular-season record.

Phoenix fell to the Milwaukee Bucks in six NBA Finals games, but the Suns have stormed out to a 26-6 mark thus far in 2021-22.

That's good enough for second in the entire NBA, just one half-game behind the Golden State Warriors (27-6).

Williams has been nothing short of excellent in Phoenix, but the Suns will have to forge ahead without him for the time being.

Young, 40, is in his second NBA season with the Suns after three years as a Philadelphia 76ers' assistant. He was promoted to associate head coach last summer.

The Flash later became the Delaware 87ers and an affiliate of the 76ers. Young served as an assistant coach for the team in 2013-14 before working as a head coach from 2014 to 2017. The 87ers steadily improved under Young, going 20-30, 21-29 and then 26-24 in his final season.

Young got the call to the 76ers in 2017, helping guide the team to three playoff appearances before moving onto Phoenix.