Report: Former Thunder HC Billy Donovan Met with Pacers amid 76ers' Interest

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2020

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan looks on during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP)
Mike Ehrmann/Associated Press

The Indiana Pacers reportedly interviewed former Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan for its head coaching vacancy last week, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The team is expecting to interview about 12 candidates before cutting down the field. Indiana is looking to replace Nate McMillan, who was fired after four seasons with the team.

Donovan spent five years with the Thunder before the two sides decided to mutually part ways earlier this month. 

Per Charania, the 55-year-old is also expected to be in the next round of interviews for the Philadelphia 76ers and is "strongly vying for" the position along with Ty Lue. 

Donovan led the Thunder to the playoffs in each of his five years with the team, accumulating a 243-157 regular-season record. The squad reached the Western Conference Finals in his first season behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, taking the Golden State Warriors to the brink before losing in seven games.

Oklahoma City remained competitive after losing Durant to free agency in 2016, then were one of the biggest surprises of the 2019-20 season after losing Westbrook and Paul George. Despite low expectations, the squad earned the No. 5 seed in the West before a first-round loss to the Houston Rockets in seven games.

Donovan finished third in voting for the NBA's Coach of the Year Award.

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The coach is now seeking a new position, potentially with a Pacers squad that has lost in the first round of the playoffs in each of the last five years. The team has lost nine straight playoff games dating back to 2018.

Domantas Sabonis, Victor Oladipo, Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. Warren could help the team remain competitive in the Eastern Conference, but expectations will be high on the new coach to take Indiana to the next level.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski previously reported Mike D'Antoni could also be a target for Indiana.