Bulls' Karnisovas says Donovan's success puts him 'on a different level'

Sam Amico

Chicago Bulls COO Michael Reinsdorf has given the basketball side "an open checkbook to try to improve the team," according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, and that played a role in the hiring of Billy Donovan as head coach.

Donovan, 55, parted ways with the Oklahoma City Thunder following the season, which ended only after an inspiring -- and some might say improbable -- run to the playoffs. 

Donovan's contract expired and the sides could not reach a deal, making him "the most experienced, well-regarded coach on the open market," per Cowley.

Bulls chief of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley reportedly interviewed nearly a dozen candidates before deciding on Donovan. The three of them will now enter their first full season together, with the Bulls scheduled to tip off a three-week minicamp on Wednesday.

“The success that he has sustained over the course of his coaching career puts him on a different level," Karnisovas said in a statement. "We feel his ability to help his players reach their potential, both individually and collectively, will mesh well with our roster. Whether as a player or as a coach, he has won everywhere his career has taken him, and we hope that will continue here in Chicago."

Donovan compiled a 243-157 mark with the Thunder, including 44-28 this past season, after the Thunder traded away stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George. He coached the University of Florida to back-to-back NCAA championships (2006 and '07) beforen signing on with the Thunder.

“I want to thank Jerry [Reinsdorf], Michael, Arturas and Marc for the opportunity to coach the Chicago Bulls,’’ Donovan said. “I also want to thank them for the time and effort they put into this hiring process. I’m excited to partner with Arturas as we work together on behalf of this historic franchise.’’

The majority of last season's roster is expected to take part in the voluntary workouts, with the exception of point guard Kris Dunn, who is eligible to become a free agent. The Bulls own the fourth overall pick in the Nov. 18 draft.