The Oklahoma City Thunder have begun discussions with Florida head coach Billy Donovan about the open head coaching job in Oklahoma City, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski says the Thunder are prepared to make an offer to Donovan.
The Thunder fired Scott Brooks last week after seven seasons as head coach, and Donovan’s name immediately became a hot candidate. Donovan has considered forays to the NBA in recent years, but now it seems he’s finally ready to make the jump after 19 years at Florida. Thunder general manager Sam Presti is a big fan of Donovan and his approach to the game, and Presti has even poached two members of Donovan’s staff at Florida within the last year.
Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie was thought to be a top candidate as well, but Ollie withdrew his name from the running last week. If Donovan turns down the job, San Antonio Spurs head coach Ettore Messina is on the list of fallback options.
But it’s clear Presti wants Donovan, and it could take a big contract offer to get it done. Donovan makes over $4 million annually at Florida with no state income tax, so it could take a contract in the vicinity of $6 million a year to lure him away from Gainesville.