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There have already been some negative stories and comments coming from Oklahoma City and some national outlets about the hiring of Billy Donovan by the Thunder. The basic reason is because the Thunder are in a “win-now” mode because they could lose Kevin Durant after the next season and Russell Westbrook a season later.
People close to the negotiations told me that Thunder GM Sam Presti has a plan no matter what happens with the two superstars and that helped convince Donovan to make the move.
It’s a win-win situation, no matter how much negativity might accompany the hiring.
Billy wins because he’s finally going to do what he’s always wanted to do, steps into a great situation and no matter what happens, he knows college basketball will always be there for him. You think the failed efforts by Rick Pitino or John Calipari harmed their legacies? Last time I looked, both were in the Hall of Fame.
The only negative for Donovan is that he is taking a job where he could be fired.
And Oklahoma City wins because in this “win-now” situation, the Thunder had to go with someone who had credibility. Certainly, there are going to be skeptics because he hasn’t coached in the league, but hiring an assistant from another NBA team wasn’t going to get anybody excited, least of all the players.
The loser here is, of course, Florida, which says goodbye to the best coach in the school’s history in any sport. UF did a lot for Donovan. Could it have done more? Coaches always complain about wanting more and Donovan was no exception. He wasn’t thrilled about the bus ride to Georgia this season and the delay in the remodeling of the O-Dome.
But that’s not why he left.
He left because he wanted to try the NBA. He has always said he wanted to try it where it was all basketball. Of course, it’s just a different set of problems in the NBA. You don’t have to worry about grades or recruiting but you are dealing with much bigger egos and off-the-court issues.
It certainly will be interesting.