Former Florida point guard Nick Calathes is eyeing a possible return to the NBA after a successful season overseas in Greece, while former Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan will return as head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder for a fourth season.
Thunder GM Sam Presti announced Wednesday that Donovan would be back after Oklahoma City was eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs last Friday, losing in six games to the Utah Jazz.
“The biggest opportunity for him is continuity,” Thunder GM Sam Presti told the Oklahoman’s Brett Dawson. “Continuity is his best friend going forward.”
Donovan, who will turn 53 at the end of this month, has guided the Thunder to the NBA playoffs in each of his first three seasons, with a 150-96 record in the regular season (.610 winning percentage) and a 14-15 record in the postseason. After guiding the Thunder to the Western Conference Finals in his first season with both Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, Donovan’s Thunder have been bounced from the first round of the playoffs for two straight years since Durant left as a free agent for the Golden State Warriors. This past season, Oklahoma City added Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to team with Westbrook, but the Thunder got off to a slow start and were unable to overcome an injury to their best defensive player, Andre Roberson.
According to a report from ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Calathes is looking to latch on to an NBA squad after posting an excellent season with Panathinaikos in the Greek Pro A league. Calathes averaged 14.5 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds this season.
Calathes, 29, has bounced from playing overseas to the NBA since leaving Florida as a sophomore in 2009. In two seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies from 2013-15, Calathes averaged 4.6 points and 2.7 assists as a backup to Mike Conley.
There are nine former Gators in the NBA. Four of the nine reached the playoffs. Boston Celtics center Al Horford is the only former Gator remaining in playoff action and has played a prominent role, scoring 26 points in back-to-back wins for the Celtics over the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers.