After the Chicago Bulls finished their first round of interviews for the vacant head coaching position, a new, exciting name entered the discussion.
Just when we thought the Chicago Bulls were progressing through the coaching candidates and ready to move on to the next stage in interviewing, things changed. The Oklahoma City Thunder and head coach Billy Donovan mutually agreed to part ways after the team did not renew his contract.
Donovan spent the past five years with the Thunder organization after coming up to the NBA from the Florida Gators collegiate program. Some may remember Donovan coaching Joakim Noah back in his college days where the coach’s Gators won back-to-back National Championships in 2006 and 2007.
Success has followed Donovan wherever he goes, and this year’s Thunder were the perfect example of his coaching excellence. Before the season started, Oklahoma City was given just above a one percent chance of making it to the postseason.
Oklahoma City traded Russell Westbrook and Paul George for a ridiculous haul of picks, and at the same time, acquired veteran point guard Chris Paul. Between Paul and Donovan, these two weren’t about to let the Thunder go down the road most thought they were headed.
Against all odds, the Thunder not only made it to the postseason but took the Houston Rockets to seven games in a nail-biter of a series.
The Chicago Bulls now have another highly-qualified candidate to consider.
Donovan hits the open coaching market where he would prefer to stay in the NBA — and he won’t have a problem doing so. The league currently has five coaching openings counting Oklahoma City.
The Bulls will have competition from the 76ers, Pacers and Pelicans if they want in on Donovan — and it appears they are already interested.
Along with candidates like Wes Unseld Jr., Ime Udoka, Dan Craig, Kenny Atkinson and a couple others, Donovan should headline this list. He not only has head coaching experience, but he’s had a variety of different situations he’s succeeded in.
Whether it be managing superstars like Westbrook, George, Paul or Kevin Durant or simply winning games when he was counted out, Donovan has seen quite a bit in his five years of NBA coaching.
The Bulls should not only be interested in Donovan, but new Vice President Arturas Karnisovas should be all-in on the former Thunder coach. There are some very, very good candidates if Donovan chooses to land elsewhere, but the Bulls should focus all of their attention on luring him to Chicago.