The Oklahoma City Thunder have decided to part ways with head coach Billy Donavan, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. His contract was set to expire following the 2019-20 season, and both sides have decided against pursuing an extension.
The Thunder overachieved despite trading Paul George and Russell Westbrook over the offseason and thrived thanks to the guard play of Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Dennis Schroder. Donovan was even a recipient of the National Basketball Association’s Coach of the Year Award, alongside Mike Budenholzer. However, he’s failed to lead the Thunder past the first round of the playoffs for four years straight.
Oklahoma City is expected to go into rebuilding mode moving forward and could trade Paul ahead of next season. It has amassed significant draft capital by sending away stars and will need new leadership to guide its young core.
Donovan didn’t appear to be interested in starting from the ground up, but a coach like Brett Brown, who endured “the process” with the Philadelphia 76ers could be an option the Thunder consider. Nate McMillan and Kenny Atkinson are big names on the market who could emerge as candidates for the job as well.