NBA executives increasingly believe that Florida coach Billy Donovan is eyeing a coaching opportunity in the NBA "more than ever before."
It was reported this week that the Gators have extended Donovan's contract through the 2020 season.
According to Stein, the extension is not considered an obstacle to Donovan's pursuit of a coaching job in the professional ranks.
The buyout in Donovan's contract is $500,000.
The report says that there is a "growing feeling" that if the "right" opportunity arises this offseason, Donovan is prepared to take accept it.
In 2007, Donovan agreed to become the head coach of the Orlando Magic, only to reverse course and decide to return to Florida a few days later.
From the report:
The Denver Nuggets and Orlando Magic are the only NBA teams currently employing an interim coach, but sources say both of those clubs plan to have Donovan on their list of targets once they began more expansive coaching searches after completing their respective regular-season schedules in April.
Donovan is also likely to be pursued by teams that make changes after the regular season or playoffs.
In 19 seasons at Florida, Donovan, 49, has led the Gators to two national championships and four Final Fours.
This season Florida went 16-17 and posted an 8-10 record in SEC play.