Just a few days after the 2019-20 season came to an end for the Oklahoma City Thunder, the team is already making a significant change.
According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Thunder will not renew the contract of head coach Billy Donovan. His contract expires at the end of the season.
“Discussions between OKC management and Donovan were described as collaborative and realistic,” Woj reported on Tuesday night. “The reality of Oklahoma City’s eventual transition toward a rebuild made it a challenge for the two sides’ to find a way to continue forward together.”
Donovan led the team to a surprise playoff appearance during the 2019-20 season. After trading away star point guard Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City wasn’t projected as a playoff team.
However, veteran point guard Chris Paul led a young Thunder team into the playoffs, where they pushed the Houston Rockets to a Game 7 in the playoffs.
Following that Game 7 loss, the Thunder decided to move on from Donovan.
ESPN Sources: Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan won’t be returning to the Thunder next season. Donovan’s contract expired at season’s end and the sides have decided against pursuing an extension.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 9, 2020
Donovan took over at Oklahoma City following a tremendous career as the head coach at Florida.
In his first season as the team’s head coach, he led the Thunder to the Western Conference Finals. However, after four-straight losses in the first round of the playoffs, Oklahoma City decided it was best to move on.
He’ll immediately become one of the top coaching candidates on the open market.