NBA: OKC, coach Billy Donovan part ways


Posted at Sep 09 2020 12:11 PM

The Oklahoma City Thunder and erstwhile head coach Billy Donovan have mutually agreed to part ways, the team announced.

The development comes just after the Thunder were ousted from the playoffs in a thrilling seven-game series against the Houston Rockets. Oklahoma City had exceeded expectations in the season, advancing to the playoffs despite losing stars Paul George and Russell Westbrook in the offseason.

In a statement, OKC general manager Sam Presti said they had discussions with Donovan on "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," Presti said.

"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," he added.

Presti expressed his gratitude and respect to Donovan, calling him "a terrific basketball coach."

"We are proud of what he has accomplished with the Thunder," he also said.

Donovan took over the head coaching position at Oklahoma City in April 2015, after coaching the University of Florida for 19 years. The Thunder made the postseason in every season he was in charge.

He compiled a record of 243-157 in his five seasons as the Thunder's head coach.

The coach said he was thankful to the OKC organization for the opportunity to coach the Thunder.

"I have a 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," he said.

"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," he added.

ESPN reported that Donovan's contract had expired after the season. He is expected to be a candidate for several vacant head coaching positions around the league: Chicago, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Indiana.