With the Thunder sitting with the sixth best record in basketball, the Oklahoma City Thunder have picked up the 2019-20 contract option on head coach Billy Donovan.
Donovan is four years into his first contract with the Thunder worth $30 million. They picked up the fifth year on his original deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Donovan is 168-106 as the head coach of the Thunder. He’s been to the Western Conference Finals once and has a 14-15 playoff record. Donovan is the fourth winningest coach with same team over his four years, behind Kerr, Popovich and Stevens.
Thunder fans been short fused with the former Florida Gator head coach as the team started 0-4. However, the Thunder have reeled off one of the better records since, going 18-6 since their rough start. However, there are still folks who would want to see a coaching change.
Donovan was hired in May of 2015 after the Thunder missed the playoffs for only the second time in franchise history. Scott Brooks was let go and Donovan was hired from Florida. Donovan’s hire was questioned by many as he appears at times to be a clone of Scott Brooks. Donovan, 53, has his differences. His ability to adjust at key moments are why the Thunder the best third quarter team in the NBA. It’s fueling their large record since their bad star.
The timing didn’t help the Thunder following, in Kevin Durant’s last season, and Durant’s appeasement of Brooks as a coach, stoked fire to one of the reasons why Durant bailed for Golden State.
Though the Thunder are loyal to a fault. As Brooks should’ve been let go a season before when the Thunder didn’t meet expectations with the best record in basketball. However, they’ll give Donovan his full contract’s worth. With the Thunder in the upper half of the NBA’s echelon, will Donovan get Oklahoma City to those vital wins? That remains to be seen but the Thunder have faith he can do it.
Donovan coached at the University of Florida for 20 seasons, winning two national championships and had multiple Final Four appearances.
The Thunder play the Chicago Bulls tonight at 7 p.m. and with the new contract, maybe we’ll see a reinvigorated Donovan under suit and tie.
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