Monty Williams has been fired as head coach of the Phoenix Suns after they were ousted by Denver in the second round of the NBA playoffs

Los Angeles (AFP) - Monty Williams, last season’s NBA Coach of the Year, has been fired as coach of the Phoenix Suns after their second-round playoff loss to Denver, the team said on Saturday.

Williams went 194-115 in four seasons with the Suns, but was dumped only two days after the Denver Nuggets ousted the Suns 4-2 in their best-of-seven Western Conference series.

“We are filled with gratitude for everything Monty has contributed to the Suns and to the Valley community,” said Suns president of basketball operations James Jones in a tweet confirming multiple reports of the firing.

The visiting Nuggets prevailed 125-100 in a must-win game for the Suns, who trailed by 30 points at halftime.

New Suns owner Mat Ishbia, who reportedly made the decision to fire Williams on Saturday, made a blockbuster deal just after taking over the team, obtaining Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets at the February trade deadline.

An ankle injury limited Durant to only eight regular-season games for Phoenix.

Williams, who has an overall NBA coaching record of 367-336 in five seasons with New Orleans and four with the Suns, had guided the Suns into the 2021 NBA Finals, where they lost to Milwaukee, before Phoenix went down in the second round the past two seasons.

With Durant and Devin Booker signed to long-term deals, the Suns will be an attractive destination for any coach.

Williams, 51, joins Toronto’s Nick Nurse and Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer as coaches to be fired this year after being voted NBA Coach of the Year over the past five seasons.