Coach Billy Donovan, the Thunder mutually agree to participate after five seasons


Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan will not return to the Thunder next season, it was announced on Tuesday.

The team said in a statement that the two parties mutually agreed partially.

Donovan’s contract expired at the end of the season and the sides decided against pursuing an extension.

“We had planned to sit at the end of the season and discuss the best way for both of us to move forward. After those discussions, it became clear that we could not inform them of the future direction of the team. The Thunder “The next several seasons to give them a level of clarity that they are quite desirous of at this stage of their career,” executive vice president and general manager Sam Priesti said in a statement.

“Therefore, we close this chapter and pay attention to everything given to the team, organization and community. Billy will always find a place in the Thunder family.”

Sources said the discussions between OKC management and Donovan were described as collaborative and realistic.

Donovan said in a statement, “This place will always be special for us. I will always give the highest honor to this organization and wish the Thunder and their fans success.”

Sources said the reality change towards the reconstruction of Oklahoma City made it a challenge for both sides.

Donovan’s contract ended with the Thunder’s season ending in Game 7 of the Houston Rockets in the first round of the Western Conference Conference.

With the league’s revenue reductions in the midst of the epidemic, there remains uncertainty over how long the Thunder can continue with the dominant giants before changing course on playoff-contention in the Western Conference.

Donovan will be an important item on the open NBA market, and could become a candidate between the openings in Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Indiana.

Donovan signed an initial five-year agreement with the Thunder upon arriving from the University of Florida, including a team option in which Oklahoma City practiced at the start of the 2018-2019 season.

Donovan was the coach of the National Basketball Coaches Association of the Year for 201-20-2020 with Mike Budenholzer of Milwaukee. NBA coaches vote on the award.

In season five, Donovan reached the Western Conference Finals in his first season with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and reached each playoff over the next four years. Donovan was 243–157 (.608) as the Thunder coach.

The Thunder are well equipped to carry out the rebuild with a young core of players including point guard Shi Gilgus-Alexander, rookie guard Lou Dortch and forward Darius Bazale. Trades sending Paul George from the Clippers and Westbrook to the Rockets have left the Thunder for 13 first-round picks and three set swap rights in the next seven NBA drafts.

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