Though he won a piece of NBA coach of the year honors, as awarded by his peers, Billy Donovan will nonetheless not be returning to coach the Oklahoma City Thunder next season.
Originally reported by ESPN, the Thunder quickly confirmed the move, issuing a statement late Tuesday night, explaining the turn of events under the headline, “Oklahoma City Thunder and Billy Donovan agree to mutually part ways.”
Thunder general manager Sam Presti, via that statement, offered the franchise’s version of Donovan’s departure.
“We had planned to sit down at the end of the season and discuss the best way to move forward for both of us,” he said. “After those discussions, it became apparent that we couldn’t provide him the information on the future direction of the team over the next several seasons to give him the level of clarity that he understandably desires at this stage of his career.”
Oklahoma City surpassed all expectations this season, going 44-28 during the regular season, tying for fourth in the Western Conference.
The team it tied with, Houston, outlasted the Thunder in a seven-game first-round playoff series that concluded last week.
Donovan spent five seasons with the Thunder, reaching the playoffs in each season. His first season, 2015-16, Oklahoma City reached the Western Conference finals. Each of the next four seasons, the Thunder were bounced in the first round.
In 21 collegiate seasons at Marshall and Florida, Donovan claimed two national championships and a record of 467-186.
Should he resume his NBA coaching career next season or thereafter, he will take a 400-243 mark into his next gig.