NBA executives believe Florida head coach Billy Donovan is interested in making the jump to the NBA, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. Stein says Donovan would likely draw interest from multiple NBA teams (including the Denver Nuggets and Orlando Magic), and the Gators headmaster is ready to listen more than ever before.
Donovan just agreed to a one-year contract extension to stay at Florida through 2020, but there’s an NBA buyout clause for just $500,000, so it’s not much of an obstacle. He reportedly rejected pursuits made by the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves in 2014, but apparently he’s having a change of heart when it comes to the NBA.
That could be because the Gators just finished up an underwhelming 16-17 campaign. This season was just the second time in Donovan’s Florida tenure – which spans nearly two decades – that the Gators have failed to qualify for postseason play.
Donovan has a 467-186 overall record at Florida, making him the winningest coach in school history. He has won two national titles in Gainesville and reached the Final Four last season after three consecutive Elite Eight appearances.