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Hornets extend head coach Monty Williams


Posted Aug 19 2012 3:16PM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Hornets coach Monty Williams has agreed to a four-year contract extension that would keep him in New Orleans through 2016.

The deal announced by the club Sunday morning comes as the 40-year-old Williams heads into the final year of the contract he received when he took his first NBA head coaching job in New Orleans in 2010.

The Hornets did not release contract terms, but Williams confirmed the length of the extension in a text message to The Associated Press.

Williams took the Hornets to the playoffs his first season with a 46-36 record. Last season, the club went 21-45 after trading star Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers in a deal that helped New Orleans build for the future with the acquisition of 23-year-old shooting guard Eric Gordon and an additional first-round draft choice.

The Hornets then won the NBA's draft lottery and selected Kentucky star Anthony Davis first overall and added Duke's Austin Rivers with the 10th pick.

This offseason, the Hornets have also traded to acquire forward Ryan Anderson from Orlando and center Robin Lopez from Phoenix.

"The Hornets have a promising future and an exciting young nucleus," said Hornets executive vice president Mickey Loomis. "It is our opinion that Monty is the perfect coach to develop and lead this group of talent going forward."

Loomis, also the general manager of the New Orleans Saints, was placed in his oversight position with the Hornets after Saints owner Tom Benson bought the basketball team from the NBA, ending a period of ownership uncertainty that had made it difficult for Hornets general manager Dell Demps to acquire or keep established players in free agency. Forward David West cited the lack of a long-term owner as a factor in his decision to leave New Orleans for Indiana in free agency last year.

"I would like to thank Mr. Benson, his family, Mickey and Dell for putting their trust in me and showing me their commitment," Williams said in a statement released by the club. "The love and support the city and its fans have shown me and my family in the time we have been here has been incredible and I look forward to continuing to work to make the city and the Benson family proud of the Hornets."

Williams came to the Hornets after five seasons as the assistant coach in Portland under then-head coach Nate McMillan.

Williams played in the NBA for 10 years after the New York Knicks made the former Notre Dame standout a first-round pick in 1994. His playing career also included stints with the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers.

Williams came to the Hornets at a time when the club was up for sale by founder George Shinn. During his first season, the NBA stepped in to buy the club in hopes of stabilizing club finances and orchestrating a deal with a new, permanent owner committed to keeping the team in Louisiana long-term.

At the time, Williams' peers would often say they felt sorry for him having to start his head coaching career amid such instability, but Williams never complained, saying he felt lucky to be getting paid well to do something he loved. His players routinely professed their admiration for Williams' approach and always seemed to play hard for him.

Even as the end of last season approached, with the Hornets well out of the playoff hunt, they finished with eight victories in their final 13 games.

It was around that time that Benson agreed to buy the club for $338 million and also agreed to a lease extension through 2024 at the New Orleans Arena. Soon after, Benson and Loomis said they planned to retain Williams.

"We could not be any happier to have someone of Monty's quality -- both professionally and personally -- involved in the resurgence of this franchise," Benson said.

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