It’s been 2 months since the Oklahoma City Thunder parted ways with Billy Donovan, and it appears that the Thunder has finally decided on a replacement for the head coaching position.
Mark Daigneault is no stranger to the Thunder organization. He has spent the last 6 years in OKC, the first 5 as head coach of the Oklahoma City Blue, and last year he was promoted to assistant coach for the Thunder, where he was one of Billy Donovan’s most trusted advisors.
In a statement, Thunder General Manager Sam Presti said, “We are thrilled to have Mark assume the role of head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He has been a selfless and effective leader within our organization since his arrival in 2014. Mark is a values-based leader, continuous learner, and someone that will help us continue the repositioning of our organization on and off the court.”
At only 35 years old, Daigneault has had a quick rise to success, but not without experience. He was an assistant coach for the Florida Gators from 2010-2014, also alongside Billy Donovan, before being hired by Presti to coach the Blue. In retrospect, it’s almost as if Presti played the long game in setting up Daigneault to take the reins of the organization.
In his 5 years with the Blue, Daigneault had a .572 winning percentage along with 4 playoff appearances, and he had a direct hand in developing players like Luguentz Dort and Deonte Burton into two-way players who earned full contracts.
The Thunder was a playoff team just a few months ago, but with training camp starting in just 3 weeks, with the NBA draft and free agency beginning in between, there is no telling what is going to happen with OKC’s roster. Rumors have begun to swirl as to whether or not Chris Paul will be traded, and while the roster is uncertain, one thing is for sure: the Thunder is incredibly well setup for the future.