It has been six days since the Houston Rockets knocked Billy Donovan’s Oklahoma City Thunder out of the playoffs, and it already seems like Donovan’s name is popping up for NBA head coaching vacancies. One such vacancy that has already been linked to Billy Donovan is that of the Chicago Bulls.
Finally having removed Jim Boylen from the bench, the Bulls have been actively seeking their new head coach. The popular names have been Philadelphia assistant coach Ime Udoka, former Brooklyn head coach Kenny Atkinson, and Miami assistant coach Dan Craig. However, now it appears we can throw Billy Donovan’s name into the hat.
Donovan’s Track Record
Donovan, a two-time NCAA champion coach at Florida, finally took a chance at coaching in the NBA in 2015 with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He had originally accepted the Orlando Magic job in 2007 before changing his mind and returning to Florida. He went 243-157 in his five seasons at the helm for OKC, making the playoffs in each season he coached.
Although Donovan and the Thunder were working toward an extension, one never materialized. The sides decided mutually to end their discussions. As such, Donovan is surprisingly available as the Bulls work to make a decision for who replaces Jim Boylen.
Is He Chicago’s Next Coach?
Does Donovan become the front-runner or the most attractive candidate for the Bulls? That depends. Yes, he made the playoffs each season with the Thunder. However, his teams only made it out of the first round once. Still, he put together a surprisingly tough team this season. Chris Paul and company took the Houston Rockets to seven games in the playoffs.
Additionally, it is hard to argue with the level of success he has experienced at the NCAA and NBA levels. Furthermore, his experience might make him attractive to a Bulls’ front office that is trying to establish Chicago as a destination for free agents while building a positive culture for the young players on the roster.
If I was a betting man, I would think the debate ends up being more about whether Billy Donovan wants to coach in Chicago, not whether Chicago wants Billy Donovan. There are jobs up for grabs in Philadelphia, Indiana, and New Orleans. All of these are theoretically more attractive than the Bulls opening. Donovan most likely shoots up to the top or near the top of the list for every team looking for a new head coach.
We’ll see what Chicago decides to do. It will be interesting either way.
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