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It was pretty understood but there was still some debate. However, Thunder general manager Sam Presti shot down any notion of a coaching change as he said Billy Donovan would return as head coach for the 2018-19 season.

When asked if Donovan would return as head coach, it was just a one word answer: Yes.

“With respect to Billy,” Presti said. “One of the things that I’m most excited about and excited for him about going forward is the fact that if fortunate enough, he’ll be able to work with the same core of a team that, as I said before, has a baseline that we’ve established, but has some controllable areas we need to improve.”

Donovan is 150-96 in his three years at the Thunder helm, sixth best in the NBA during his tenure.

“After coming here from college,” Presti said. “He [Donovan] had us within two minutes of going to the NBA Finals.”

Despite returning, Presti admitted being disappointed in the season’s end result. Especially with all of the trades and expectations. Injuries, among other things, led to the first round exit this season. Presti hopes Donovan will have the same core for the first time in his tenure for the following season.

A bunch of that is going to rely on the choice made by Paul George. If he returns, Oklahoma City’s foundation will return. If he heads elsewhere, the Thunder will have to try and find another one to add and try to stay relevant.

“He’s done a good job of playing the cards he’s been dealt and making sure we have the sets, giving us the defensive schemes we need to succeed,” Russell Westbrook on Donovan.

Oklahoma City would look to get back to the mountain top of the Western Conference next season and that will be led by Donovan.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.