Marc Stein reports the latest on the Thunder’s interest in hiring Billy Donovan as their next coach.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have formally entered into advanced discussions about their vacant coaching job with Florida coach Billy Donovan, according to league sources.
If Billy Donovan leaves Florida to take the Thunder job, he’ll leave the Gators as the winningest coach in the program’s history.
|A look at his highlights:|
|• 467-186 (.715) in 19 seasons|
|• 16 straight 20-win seasons (1998-14)|
|• Four Final Four appearances|
|• 1 of 4 active coaches with multiple titles*|
|*Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Rick Pitino others|
|— ESPN Stats & Information|
Sources told ESPN.com that Donovan and Thunder general manager Sam Presti have opened a serious dialogue about the position, which became available a week ago after the dismissal of Scott Brooks. One source close to the situation went so far as to tell ESPN.com that “the job is Donovan’s to lose.”
Within NBA coaching circles, Donovan has been widely regarded as the clear favorite to succeed Brooks, who made one trip to the NBA Finals and two other trips to the Western Conference finals in his seven seasons as Thunder coach.
ESPN.com reported in early April that there was a growing sense among NBA executives that Donovan, who turns 50 on May 30, is more ready to make the jump to the NBA than he ever has been. He also has a long-standing close relationship with Presti, who has hired two members of Donovan’s staff at Florida within the past 12 months to take positions with Oklahoma City — Mark Daigneault as coach of the Thunder’s D-League team and Oliver Winterbone as a data analyst.