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#pounditFriday, December 2, 2022

Billy Donovan will not return as Thunder head coach

Billy Donovan

Billy Donovan’s time as the Oklahoma City Thunder’s head coach has come to an end.

Donovan’s contract expired at the end of the season and OKC will not bring him back, the team announced on Tuesday.

The Thunder were one of the biggest surprises of the season (we wrote about their unexpected success here).

Viewed as a rebuilding team, the Thunder defied expectations by going 44-28 in the regular season and pushing the Houston Rockets to seven games in the first round of the playoffs. Coaches typically get rewarded after such seasons, but that was not the case for Donovan.

According to Wojnarowski, the Thunder acknowledged that they will be rebuilding at some point, and that is part of the reason for the coaching change. Woj says this transition to rebuilding likely would have to do with financial issues related to declining revenues from the coronavirus pandemic.

Donovan has been the Thunder’s head coach the past five seasons. His first year in OKC, the team still had Kevin Durant. They blew a 3-1 lead against the Warriors in the conference finals and lost KD to Golden State. Then, despite adding Paul George for two seasons, they were unable to get past the first round of the playoffs.

Donovan’s entry into the NBA after a career coaching in college can ultimately viewed as mostly successful. He will likely be a top candidate this offseason.

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