Donovan Out in OKC; Bulls, 76ers Interested
The Chicago Bulls are said to have interest in former Thunder head coach Billy Donovan, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. And from Sam Amick of The Athletic, the 76ers are also said to have an interest.
After five seasons, Donovan is out as the Oklahoma City Thunder's head coach. According to a press release by the team, the two have mutually agreed to part ways.
During his time in Oklahoma City, the Thunder went to the playoffs every year and came one game away from going to the finals in 2016 when they blew a 3-1 series lead against the Golden State Warriors.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti issued a statement saying:
"I have great respect for Billy and will always appreciate our work together."..." He is a terrific basketball coach, and we are proud of what he has accomplished with the Thunder."
"We had planned to sit down at the end of the season and discuss the best way to move forward for both of us."... "After those discussions, it became apparent that we couldn't provide him the information on the future direction of the team over the next several seasons to give him the level of clarity that he understandably desires at this stage of his career."
"Therefore, we close this chapter and reflect fondly on all that he has given to the team, organization, and community. Billy will always have a place in the Thunder family."
The roster has been in a constant state of flux since Donovan took over back in the 2015-2016 season. He has seen the departures of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony while being asked to win with players that weren't in place until sometimes close to training camp.
This season, Donovan had to live with the specter of having Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari being traded during the, and now, with no clear answer as to what the Thunder could look like the future, it appears Donovan has had enough.
Dovan released a statement of his own:
"Coaching the Oklahoma City Thunder the past five seasons has been a great honor, and I thank Mr. Bennett, Sam, and the entire organization for the opportunity."... "I have great respect and admiration for the players I coached in Oklahoma, and I also want to thank the coaches I worked with, who gave unbelievable time and expertise to our common goal."
"Lastly, I want to thank the Oklahoma City community for being so welcoming to my family during our time here."... "This place will always be special to us."
"I will always hold this organization in the highest regard and wish the Thunder and their fans the success they deserve."
Donovan leaves Oklahoma City with an overall record of 243-157
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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.