Report: Billy Donovan, Thunder begin formal discussions
Billy Donovan is widely believed to be the Oklahoma City Thunder’s top choice for their head coaching vacancy, and the two sides appear to be working toward a deal.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Thunder began formal discussions with Donovan about the job this week. Thunder general manager Sam Presti and Donovan have been communicating back and forth.
The only other name we have heard linked to the Thunder job is Kevin Ollie, but the UConn coach removed his name from consideration for the position last week after OKC fired Scott Brooks. That leaves Donovan, who has been the head coach at Florida since 1996 and won two national championships, as the clear favorite.
Donovan and Presti have a close relationship, and there has been plenty of speculation that the 49-year-old coach is ready to make the jump to the NBA. One of Donovan’s former players recently expressed confidence that he will be coaching at the pro level in the very near future. Stein also reports that Donovan has “grown weary of the college recruiting grind.”
Presti has already hired two of Donovan’s former assistants, with Mark Daigneault coaching the Thunder’s D-League team and Oliver Winterbone working as a data analyst.
Donovan is under contract with Florida through 2020, but his deal includes a very reasonable buyout option of $500,000. The Thunder would have no problem paying it.
Given what we know at this point, it seems like it would be a huge disappointment for the Thunder if they can’t land Donovan.