Billy Donovan Deserves an Extension, now
Living in the now, that's what we as Thunder have gotten used to over the past few months. But, there are questions on the horizon that need answers.
The first and most pressing has to be what the future holds for Billy Donovan. Donovan spent this past weekend in his old stomping ground of Gainesville, having the O'Connell's Center court dedicated in his honor. Each time he spoke about his time at the University of Florida, he was visibly emotional.
How could he not be? Spend 19 years in one place that you had a lot of success, and all those feelings are going to come to the surface. I don't say that to say Donovan is thinking about going back to college ranks.
But, I do wonder what he and Sam Presti are thinking. If any coach in the NBA is deserving of a long term extension, it's Donovan. Even if the Thunder weren't 11 games over .500 Donovan has had more roster turnover than your average McDonald's, and it doesn't figure to get any more stable this Summer.
With Danilo Gallinari on an expiring contract and Clay Bennett waiting to get out of the luxury tax, the next few months for Oklahoma City it murky at best.
What can't be known is how Donovan feels about more roster changes or if Presti sees him as. A guy who is best to build for the future.
The answer to that second question should be a resounding yes. For the first time since becoming head coach of the Thunder, Donovan has a team that seems to buy into what he has to sell; it also doesn't hurt that you have a roster well balanced with veteran and young talent.
Half of being a great coach in the NBA knows how to manage 15 different cooperations (aka players, aka brands). Donovan, in dealing with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Paul Geroge, Carmelo Anthony, and now Chirs Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, is more than equipped to lead this team into the future. He has also earned the right to have a stable roster of players.
Plus, Donovan seems to be more than alright with Presti making the personnel decisions and both of them believe in analytics. Presti is going to hard-pressed to find a coach with skins on the wall that will let him run the team his way.
In what seems to be another Summer of change, it would be smart of Presti to lock Donovan up sooner rather than later, with Shaka Smart, and others on the hot seat, Donovan will be in demand.
Thunder/Nuggets Friday at 7 pm on Fox Sports Oklahoma, and ESPN.