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#pounditWednesday, January 19, 2022

Articles tagged: Billy Donovan

Joakim Noah could return to Bulls after Billy Donovan hiring?

Joakim Noah

One of Billy Donovan’s former University of Florida players may be returning to Chicago to join him.

Donovan was officially hired as the new head coach of the Bulls on Tuesday. Nick Friedell of ESPN suggested that former Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah could now return to the Bulls, noting that Noah has “a great deal of respect” for Donovan and still loves Chicago.

The 35-year-old Noah spent the final months of this season with the LA Clippers. Team reporter Lucas Hann notes he still has a non-guaranteed contract with the Clippers for next season. If Noah were to be released or traded as salary filler and bought out however, that could potentially open the door for a return to Chicago.

For what it’s worth, Noah had an Instagram post congratulating Donovan on getting the job with the Bulls. He also referred to Donovan as “family” in a statement to KC Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

Noah was drafted by the Bulls in 2007 and had the best years of his career there before departing in 2016. Prior to that, he played three seasons under Donovan at Florida, winning back-to-back national titles in 2006 and 2007.

The former All-Star Noah might have some fences to mend if he were to return to Chicago. But the 2-for-1 reunion special with both Donovan and the Bulls would make for one heck of a homecoming for him.

Billy Donovan to become Chicago Bulls’ head coach

Billy Donovan

Billy Donovan was not out of a job for long.

Donovan has agreed to become the head coach of the Chicago Bulls, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday.

Donovan was let go by the Oklahoma City Thunder after the team was eliminated from the NBA playoffs. The Thunder reportedly are preparing to go into a rebuild and decided not to renew Donovan’s contract.

The Bulls were deciding on the future of Jim Boylen and fired him last month, creating a vacancy. They now have made a huge upgrade with the addition of Donovan.

Donovan, 55, won two national championships as a head coach in college at Florida before jumping to the pros. His teams made the playoffs all five years he was the coach of the Thunder, though they lost in the first round the last four years.

Billy Donovan reportedly in play for Bulls, Sixers jobs

Billy Donovan

Billy Donovan may not have to wait very long at all for his next NBA job.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported Tuesday that the Chicago Bulls are expected to have interest in Donovan, who was just let go by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Sam Amick of The Athletic also adds Donovan is expected to be a candidate for the Philadelphia 76ers head coaching job as well.

Donovan, 55, had been the coach of the Thunder since 2015. His contract was up, and the two sides decided against an extension. Oklahoma City was coming off a narrow seven-game loss in the first round of the playoffs to the Houston Rockets.

The Sixers have Al Horford, one of Donovan’s old players at the University of Florida. The Bulls do not have any ex-Donovan proteges. But they are a young team who might be a good fit for Donovan’s developmental style. There certainly has to be intrigue for Donovan with either opening.

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.

Billy Donovan had some harsh words for a 17-year-old Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown is having a breakout year with the Boston Celtics this year, and Billy Donovan may find it ironic that Brown is putting up such big numbers in his fourth NBA year. Based on what Donovan said to Brown years ago, it sounds like the Oklahoma City Thunder coach thought Brown would have been out of the league by now.

While speaking with students at UMass on a Zoom chat Friday, Brown told a story about how Donovan motivated him with some harsh criticism when he was 17. Brown was playing for Donovan on USA Basketball’s u-18 squad at the time, and he said he was “killing everybody in practice.” Despite that, Donovan wasn’t giving Brown much playing time. Brown wanted to know why.

“He told me he wasn’t playing me because he said I didn’t play hard,” Brown recalled, as transcribed by Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. “I said, ‘What do you mean, I’ve been cooking everybody.’ And he told me you’re only going to be in the league for three years because you don’t play hard. … And instantly I was emotional. I was 17 years old. I was like, ‘What do you mean? I’m the best player here. I’m cooking everybody.’”

Brown said he was so angry that he cried, but he realized what Donovan meant as he got older. Brown was relying strictly on talent when he should have also been trying to out-work people. While he admits he is still bothered to this day that Donovan would say that to a 17-year-old, Brown acknowledges that it has helped fuel his NBA career.

“For someone to say that was a lot for a 17-year-old,” Brown said. “I appreciate the message he delivered, and to this day I kind of think about it, because that message was added to my work ethic.

“I’m never going to let someone tell me what I’m going to be or I’m not going to be. He told me to my face when I was 17, you’re going to make it to the NBA, but you’re only going to be there for three years because you don’t play hard.”

Brown signed a four-year, $115 million deal with the Celtics last offseason. He is averaging 20.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game this season and has already had some incredible highlight moments during his career. Apparently fans in Boston can thank Donovan for that.

Billy Donovan admits he was taken aback by Paul George’s trade request

Billy Donovan

Paul George’s request for a trade this summer came as a shock to everybody on the outside, and apparently even some on the inside as well.

In an interview with Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman that ran this weekend, Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan discussed George’s exit.

“I was taken [a]back, because … I think Paul enjoyed his time here,” Donovan said. “I do think when he first came here, there was a lot of speculation. ‘This is only going to be a one-year experiment and then he’s going to want to get back to LA.’ Paul’s obviously got a lot of ties and affinity for LA and where he’s from. I get that part of it. I get that part for his family. His mom and dad are great people. Yeah, It catches you.”

The Southern California native George was traded per his request to the LA Clippers this summer, pairing him with fellow star forward Kawhi Leonard. George’s departure ended a two-year run with Donovan and the Thunder where he earned First Team All-NBA and All-Defensive honors but failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs with them.

The end of the George era (and consequently the Russell Westbrook one as well) was similarly difficult on Oklahoma City’s general manager. At least now though, the team will be able to jumpstart their rebuild with the treasure chest of assets that they received for both players.

Thunder GM indicates head coach Billy Donovan’s job is safe

Billy Donovan

The Oklahoma City Thunder saw their season end on a disappointing note last week when they lost four out of five games against the Portland Trail Blazers, but it appears head coach Billy Donovan does not have to worry about his job status heading into next year.

While speaking with the media on Monday, Thunder general manager Sam Presti said he envisions Donovan being back with the team next season.

Donovan has a record of 199-129 in four seasons with the Thunder, but they have lost in the opening round of the playoffs the past three years. While a lot of that had to do with losing Kevin Durant in free agency, Paul George had an outstanding regular season this year and expectations were high with him and Russell Westbrook leading the way entering OKC’s series against Portland.

Of course, we all know how that worked out. The Thunder were embarrassed both with their play and by what Damian Lillard did to them to close out the series. While they weren’t expected to get past teams like the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, a lot of people picked them to pull the upset over Portland.

The Thunder picked up the fifth-year option on Donovan’s contract earlier in the season, and there had been talk that he could earn an extension with a strong showing in the postseason. He may have to enter next year as a lame duck, but it appears he will be keeping his job in the short-term.

Billy Donovan disagrees with suspensions for Thunder players

Billy Donovan

Two Oklahoma City Thunder players were suspended for leaving the bench during a scuffle with the Chicago Bulls on Monday night, and head coach Billy Donovan is not happy about it.

Donovan on Wednesday expressed his disappointment with the 1-game suspensions handed to Dennis Schroder and Raymond Felton. He felt both players were trying to be peacemakers and not escalate the situation. He also was upset with the timing of the announcement, which came the same day as the team’s game against the Sacramento Kings rather than their off day on Tuesday.

Here are Donovan’s comments as shared by The Oklahoman’s Erik Horne:

The NBA’s policy about suspending players for leaving the bench during fights is as firm as it gets. They don’t want more players getting involved in scuffles because they feel it will only make things worse, regardless of the players’ intent. That’s a rule the players need to know and learn.

Billy Donovan could earn contract extension with strong playoff performance

Billy Donovan

The Oklahoma City Thunder appear to be committed to Billy Donovan at least into next season, but the head coach could earn even more job security if his team impresses in the postseason this year.

Donovan had the fifth-year option on his contract picked up by the Thunder on Monday, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted that Thunder Executive VP and GM Sam Presti considered the decision “largely a formality.” The real goal for Donovan will be to get more years tacked onto his contract, which is something that could happen if OKC has a strong showing in the playoffs.

The Thunder are off to an 18-10 start this year despite Russell Westbrook missing the start of the season with an injury, and they have reached the playoffs in each of Donovan’s first three seasons with the team. However, they were bounced in the first round the last two years, so they may need to advance beyond that for Donovan to convince the team he is worthy of an extension.

Donovan was criticized by Kevin Durant on social media last year, though the Golden State Warriors star later apologized. If Durant does have a negative opinion of his former coach, it does not sound like it is shared among the team’s executives.

10 NBA coaches on the hot seat this season

Luke Walton

The NBA is a “get wins or get out” enterprise. The business can be callous at times, spurning head coaches who have seemingly earned job security — a lesson Dwane Casey learned the hard way in May. It’s still hard to imagine Casey on the Pistons’ sideline.

It may seem ridiculous to already be speculating about which coaches could be fired this season, but the 2018-19 season is practically upon us, and before we know it, some team will be searching for a new leader. With the preseason already underway, here are 10 coaches on the hot seat.

10. Alvin Gentry, Pelicans

You could argue Anthony Davis’ impressive late-season surge saved Gentry’s job last season. The Pelicans won their first playoff series in the Davis era — an encouraging sign — but the Warriors quickly vanquished New Orleans’ momentum. This seems to be a pivotal moment for the franchise. The Pelicans didn’t have much spending money this summer, as the squad had already dished out hefty contracts to players like E’Twaun Moore, Alexis Ajinca, and Omer Asik. The team allowed DeMarcus Cousins to bolt and signed bargain-basement assets Jahlil Okafor and Elfrid Payton, in addition to Julius Randle. The Pelicans are reliant on Davis sustaining MVP-level production; if he and Jrue Holiday crash back to earth early this season, however, GM Dell Demps — left with little flexibility to add another impact player — may opt to make a coaching change.