Who Will Replace Billy Donovan in Oklahoma City?
In a bit of a surprise move, the Thunder and head coach Billy Donovan decided to mutually part ways. Take that word “mutually” with a grain of salt, though, as OKC would have loved to retain Donovan if the ball was truly in their court.
However, due to unclarity surrounding the future of Chris Paul and Steven Adams – which parlayed into uncertainty about the direction of the franchise, Donovan decided to bolt.
Billy won’t wait too long to take another job – perhaps the one in Philly or New Orleans. Nevertheless, this post is about OKC and the dilemma they’re currently in. Let’s look ahead at who Sam Presti could hire to become the next Oklahoma City Thunder head coach.
It’s ironic that Donovan is tied to the vacancy in Philadelphia because the 76ers former head coach is one of the frontrunners to land in OKC. Presti and Brett Brown worked closely together for six seasons in San Antonio and established a strong bond. While Sam was the director of player personnel, Brett was in charge of player development.
The problem is if Oklahoma City is indeed headed for a rebuild, I’m not so sure Brown has the patience for the undertaking. Not after everything he went through in Philly.
I pegged Atkinson to become the next Pelicans head coach, but that was a couple of weeks ago before the gig in Oklahoma City became available. If New Orleans opts to go in a different direction – for example, Tyronn Lue, Kenny emerges front and center for the Thunder job.
Atkinson has received praise across the league for his ability to develop young talent, and that’s exactly what OKC needs after waving goodbye to Donovan.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a budding superstar, while 21-year-old Luguentz Dort blossomed in the Houston series. Kenny is the type of guy who can seamlessly come in and ensure this group continues to overachieve.
Becky Hammon is on the prowl as a serious head coaching candidate.
ESPN Sources: Pacers beginning with a wide-ranging list in coaching search, including Becky Hammon and Dave Joerger: https://t.co/aD6TZp9y7r— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 9, 2020
While she’s been linked to the job in Indiana, so has Mike D’Antoni and several other big names. Any thoughts of Becky eventually taking over in San Antonio when Pop calls it quits were blurred when Tim Duncan came on as an assistant.
I don’t envision Hammon being a good fit in Philly, nor do I think David Griffin is intrigued over in the Big Easy.
Then again, there’s no denying that the 43-year-old former WNBA point guard is on a fast track to become the first female head coach in the history of the NBA. Presti has never been shy to make a bold decision, and many of the top head coaching applicants will soon be off the market.
In other words, don’t be shocked if Presti reaches out to Hammon and requests a formal interview.
Thunder Next Head Coach Prediction
It’s worth mentioning that the best sports betting sites are in agreement that Adrian Griffin is the leading candidate to become the Thunder’s next head coach. The Raptors assistant makes a ton of sense, as do the three contenders featured on this page.
With that being said, another name to keep an eye on his current Timberwolves assistant, David Vanterpool. The 47-year-old former player made a name for himself helping develop Damian Lillard in Portland, and he’s the exact type of guy who can maximize SGA’s potential.
Just don’t hold your breath waiting for Presti to make a decision. He may wait this thing out and simply let the chips fall where they may.