The Oklahoma City Thunder have zeroed in on Florida head coach Billy Donovan as their first choice to replace former head coach Scott Brooks, who was recently fired.
It sounds like it’s an offer Donovan won’t be able to refuse.
ESPN’s Marc Stein is reporting that the Thunder and Donovan have entered the formal stage of negotiations with a decision expected to come within 48 hours.
With perhaps UConn head coach Kevin Ollie as an exception, Donovan has been the lone target of Thunder general manager Sam Presti from the beginning. Donovan is close with Presti, and Presti has hired two of Donovan’s Florida assistants in the past.
Donovan is a legend at Florida, where he’s won 71 percent of his games in 19 seasons, two championships and has been to four Final Fours. But he was intrigued by the NBA when he accepted the Orlando Magic head coach position in 2007, but returned to the Gators days after his introductory press conference.
But Donovan is 50 now and rumored to be more interested in returning to the NBA than ever.
Donovan won’t find a better opportunity than what next year offers in Oklahoma City, but that comes with a big challenge. The next Thunder head coach will be given the burden of proving enough to keep Kevin Durant in town. Durant is a free agent after next season.