NBA Rumors: Billy Donovan's Contract Option Picked Up by Thunder

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2018

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Oklahoma City Thunder have picked up the fifth-year option for head coach Billy Donovan to keep him on the sidelines through the 2019-20 season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. 

Donovan is currently in his fourth year with the team, recording a 168-106 record in that span, including an 18-10 mark so far this season. Per Wojnarowski, he is the fourth-winningest coach in the NBA during his time in the league behind only Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens.

The Thunder reached the Western Conference Finals in Donovan's first year at the helm, taking a 3-1 lead on the Golden State Warriors before eventually losing in seven games.

Unfortunately, things haven't gone quite as well since losing Kevin Durant to free agency.

Oklahoma City had 95 combined wins over the past two seasons but suffered a first-round loss in each year, only winning three total games in this stretch.

Still, the Thunder clearly believe Donovan is the right man to lead, especially with the team off to a better start so far in 2018-19. The squad is currently in third place in the Western Conference, just 1.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets for the top spot.

There is also more balance in the team than in the past, with Paul George taking on a bigger role and Dennis Schroder adding offensive depth, while Russell Westbrook continues to fill up the stat sheet. With the coach now under contract for another year, the team can focus on finishing the year strong.

Anyone waiting for Donovan to return to the college ranks likely shouldn't hold their breath.

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