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Wife’s cancer almost prevented Monty Williams from taking Pistons job

DETROIT (AP) – After being fired by the Phoenix Suns following their elimination from the postseason, Williams had talked to a few teams when his family got some upsetting news – his wife, Lisa, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Williams was introduced on Tuesday as the new coach of the Detroit Pistons, and he discussed his wife’s health in an attempt to help others.

“The reason that I bring it up is to not talk about my family, but to make it more of an emphasis that women need early detection testing. We had genetic testing done and then scan after scan after scan and then we found it early, and that may have saved my wife’s life.

“It can save others.”

Williams had been in contact with Pistons general manager Troy Weaver, but dropped out of contention for the Detroit job when his wife was diagnosed.

“As we navigated all of that, I was talking to Troy and telling him man, I couldn’t, you know, right now because I gotta take care of my family,” he said.

Williams, whose first wife, Ingrid, died in a car crash in 2016, was ready to take at least one season off to spend more time with his wife and kids. He’s also helping his son Elijah – a top recruiting target for schools across the country – deal with that aspect of his life.

“After we got the good news about Lisa, I was with my kid at a tryout when I got a text from Troy out of the blue,” he said. “I thought everything was totally off the table, but things went quickly after that.”

Williams flew to Los Angeles to meet with owner Tom Gores.

“I had met with Troy for about five days at my house, and I told him we had a critical responsibility to get this right for our players,” Gores said. “They have literally trusted us and they are even holding their own practices. I wouldn’t say it was a yelling match, but we talked about how it was important to deliver for those young men.”

Monty Williams. PHOTO: AP