Billy Donovan to leave Oklahoma City Thunder after 5 seasons coaching them, as per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Here we look at who can replace him.
Billy Donovan’s contract to stay with OKC has expired and so the organization and Donovan have mutually decided to part ways with one another.
ESPN Sources: Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan won’t be returning to the Thunder next season. Donovan’s contract expired at season’s end and the sides have decided against pursuing an extension.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 9, 2020
Billy Donovan led an overlooked OKC team this season to the Playoffs and took the Houston Rockets to a Game 7 which they lost.
Billy Donovan has had many accomplishments with the Thunder, including never missing the Playoffs in his 5 seasons with the organization. The National Basketball Coaches Association voted him, alongside Milwaukee Bucks Head Coach, co-coach of the year for the 2019-20 season.
Donovan has had an impressive 243-157 record, which translates to a 60.8% winning percentage.
How did the Thunder and Billy Donovan part ways?
The Thunder’s General Manager Sam Presti has a great relationship with Donovan saying, quote, Billy will always have a special place in the Thunder family.”
The organizational heads and Donovan sat down together to discuss his future with OKC and told Donovan that they could not confirm what path they will be taking going into next season. This prompted Donovan to politely decline re-signing with the Thunder as he would appreciate a bit more clarity.
The fact that OKC has been in talks to potentially rebuild is what ultimately made Billy Donovan step away.
OKC Thunder new coach?
The Thunder need to switch things up. They have great young pieces in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, and Dennis Schroder, along with 16 draft picks in the next 4 years.
Brett Brown would be a great option for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s a product of the San Antonio Spurs, under the tutelage of Gregg Popovich. He is a sort of old fashioned coach when it comes to team attitude and would be great for the development of the young players on the team. He is also a great locker room voice
Nate McMillan is also another name that comes to mind as he has proven to be able to elevate young players and even took a relatively young team, the Indiana Pacers, to the Playoffs 3 years in a row. He is known to build great, friendly relationships with his players.