Report: Thunder, Billy Donovan finalizing coaching contract

1:01 | NBA
Report: Thunder, Billy Donovan talk head coaching position
Wednesday April 29th, 2015

The Oklahoma City Thunder are finalizing an agreement to hire Florida coach Billy Donovan and could announce him as their new head coach as early as Thursday, ESPN reported.

Yahoo also reported Thursday that both parties were finalizing a deal. 

ESPN first reported on Wednesday that Donovan and the Thunder had begun discussing Oklahoma City's coaching vacancy, while Yahoo reported that both parties met Wednesday to discuss contract language.

The Thunder are seeking to replace Scott Brooks, who was fired on April 22 after seven seasons including five postseason appearances. The Thunder missed the playoffs this season.

According to ESPN, San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina was on Thunder general manager Sam Presti’s short list of candidates. University of Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie withdrew his name from consideration after being linked to the job.

Donovan, 49, is 502-206 in 21 seasons at Marshall and Florida.

He has spent the last 19 seasons with the Gators, compiling a 467-186 record with two national championships, six regular season Southeastern Conference titles and four conference tournament titles.

• Who should be the next coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder?

This season, the Gators finished 16-17 and failed to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009.

The school recently extended Donovan’s contract through the 2020 season, and he is set to make about $4 million next season. His buyout should he leave for an NBA job is only $500,000. 

Donovan has had NBA interest before. He agreed to take the coaching job with the Orlando Magic in 2007 shortly after winning a second national championship, but he ultimately decided to return to Florida.

- Scooby Axson

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