Donovan Deal Done

By Randy Renner

For the second time in his coaching career Billy Donovan has agreed to become a head coach in the NBA, last time it was Orlando for one day, this time it's Oklahoma City for what could be quite a while.

The Gainesville Sun newspaper is reporting Donovan and the Thunder have agreed "in principal" to a multi-year contract but that there are still a few minor details being worked out.

Donovan led the Gators to 467 wins over the last 19 seasons, two National Championships, seven berths in the Elite Eight and 14 appearances in the  NCAA Tournament.

Donovan played briefly in the NBA for the New York Knicks, who were coached at the time by Donovan's old college coach Rick Pitino. His playing days didn't last long but he was hired as an assistant coach by Pitino when he left the Knicks for the Kentucky Wildcats.

In 2007, Donovan agreed to a contract with the Orlando Magic and even held an introductory news conference but he backed out of the deal the next day and returned to UF.

His closest friends say that won't happen this time, that Donovan has tired of the recruiting grind and wants to be able to focus on basketball all the time.

Donovan makes a little over $4 million at Florida and his contract contains a $500,000 buyout. No contract terms have been revealed but it's believed Donovan could command a salary of around $6 million which would tie him with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich as the third highest paid coach in the NBA, though the two coaches in front, Stan Van Gundy ($7 million) and Doc Rivers ($10 million) are also each in charge of personnel and act as their team's GMs.

A formal announcement won't come from the Thunder until the deal is totally completed, which should be later today and then an introductory news conference would likely be set for sometime Friday.


Randy RennerComment