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Report: Head coach Billy Donovan will not return to Thunder next season

The Oklahoma City Thunder will be looking for a new coach for 2020-2021. Billy Donovan and the team have decided not to pursue a contract extension.

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan reacts during the first half of game seven of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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.