Oklahoma City Thunder

Does Billy Donovan Actually Have A Chance Of Staying In Oklahoma City?

Craig Hofeld


Since making it to the Western Conference Finals in 2016 and blowing a 3-1 lead, Billy Donovan has not coached a team past the first round of the playoffs. He was given a “free pass” in 2017, considering Russell Westbrook was just about all he had. Since then, he’s coached two squads with multiple All-Stars, yet nothing to show for it. To anyone on the outside, it seems like firing Billy Donovan is the obvious thing to do.

However, we all know Sam Presti has a pretty solid relationship with Billy Donovan. Presti has a way about going about his business that is much different than other GM’s in this league. With that in mind, what are the odds Donovan returns for the 5th and final year of his contract?

As soon as Damian Lillard hit that shot on Tuesday night to officially end the Thunder’s season, I was confident we had seen the last game with Billy Donovan as the head coach of Oklahoma City. As days have gone by without any rumors of a coaching change, my mind has changed a little. Not to mention the comments of several key Thunder players during their exit interview.

Here’s what Paul George and Russell Westbrook had to say in their exit interviews:

Obviously, these guys could just be speaking highly of Billy Donovan to save their own faces. However, I don’t really see how that benefits either player in terms of winning. If George and Westbrook thought they couldn’t win with Donovan in charge, surely they’d say something.

Regardless of the decision made by Sam Presti this summer, I think George and Westbrook are at least being honest about their relationship with Donovan. They seem to like the guy due to his willingness to listen to players.

All things considered, I actually think there’s a solid chance Billy Donovan gets one more year. I think the organization is pleased with his relationship on and off the court with his players, and I think they like the way he represents the franchise. Maybe he just needs one more season to put everything in place.

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  1. I think a willingness to listen to players can be a good and a bad thing. I don’t think there’s any kind of issue between players and coach, and just because things don’t always work doesn’t necessarily mean a new coach can just come in and fix that.

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