The Oklahoma City Thunder coaching search officially began Tuesday when Billy Donovan's departure was announced. If we're honest, every General Manager and owner are always in the middle of a coaching search; they just don't act on it unless they have to.
The Thunder is now in a position where they will have to make a hire in the next few weeks. One name that will be on the lips of fans and long time media types will be Kansas coach Bill Self.
Self has been popular amongst writers and broadcasters since his playing days at Oklahoma State. He would not only be affable, but he would also be more accessible than any coach in Thunder history.
But, for an organization that runs a tight ship having a coach that is willing to speak freely might not be in their best interest. Also, with the NCAA likely to bring the hammer down on the Jayhawks, it wouldn't look right for Self to bail and leave his administration left to pick the pieces.
If anyone knows what will happen concerning Self's future, it would be Bill Haisten of the Tulsa World. Haisten has known Self since he was the coach of the Golden Hurricane.
"Do I believe he's a viable candidate? "..." I believe he's a qualified candidate, but not viable. Not at this point in time for the University of Kansas (his employer since 2003) or for the Thunder."
"With one Level I infraction — the most serious of the infraction classifications — Oklahoma State was dealt a 2021 postseason ban."... "Kansas is alleged to have committed five Level I infractions, but Self and the university are fighting those charges."
Self doesn't want his legacy at Kanas to resemble that of Pete Carrol's at USC, and he's 57. If the Thunder are going to rebuild, you need a younger coach who is willing to be guided by Presti's hand; several candidates fall into that pocket like Darvin Hamm of the Bucks, Royal Ivey, David Vanterpool, and Nazr Mohammad.
However, Presti decides to go; you can bet it won't be a cookie-cutter name thrown out by sports talk radio hosts who get their opinions straight from ESPN daily shows. Presti will find a like-minded person who can see players "for what they can be, not what they are."
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With more than 20 years of experience hosting local and national radio shows, Erik Gee is a fixture of Oklahoma sports media. He has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for the past six seasons. He is also the co-host of the Pat Jones show on 97.1 The Sports Animal in Tulsa.