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Bulls Rumors: Billy Donovan Signed Contract Extension Before 2022-23 Season

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVNovember 29, 2022

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 21: Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan reacts to a call during a NBA game between the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls on November 21, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls might be 11th in the Eastern Conference at 9-11, but head coach Billy Donovan won't be on the hot seat anytime soon.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Tuesday that Donovan signed an extension with the Bulls before the start of the 2022-23 NBA season that will keep him in Chicago for "several more years."

Last year, Donovan guided the Bulls to a 46-36 record and their first trip to the playoffs since 2017.

Chicago undoubtedly would've finished higher had Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso, two of its biggest offseason additions, didn't miss 88 combined games. 2020 first-round draft pick Patrick Williams only made 17 appearances as well.

Although Donovan still had two years left to run on his original contract, giving him an extension made sense because he largely achieved exactly what the franchise set out to do in 2021-22.

Despite a slow start, the front office probably doesn't have any buyer's remorse just yet.

Ball has yet to make his season debut after undergoing knee surgery, and Sam Smith of the Bulls' official site said the 6'6" playmaker may not get onto the court until January.

Zach LaVine is struggling to match the pace he set when earning his second straight All-Star nod as well. He's averaging 20.9 points, down from 24.4, and shooting just 40.4 percent overall.

LaVine took exception to being benched late in a 108-107 loss to the Orlando Magic on Nov. 18, but it was tough to find fault with Donovan for the move. The star guard shot 1-of-14 from the field and missed all five of his three-point attempts.

In November, The Athletic's Zach Harper evaluated the job security of all 30 NBA head coaches and put Donovan in his "potential fall guy if things don’t go to plan."

That's the fairest reflection of the situation. If you're apportioning blame for the Bulls' record, then executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas deserves a larger share than Donovan.

Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley went all in but assembled a roster with a firm ceiling. Now, Chicago is stuck without a clear path forward.

Maybe Donovan will be made the scapegoat, but the cost of firing him went up thanks to his new contract.