Should the Oklahoma City Thunder decide to move on from head coach Scott Brooks, whose partnership with the team is currently being “evaluated” by executives, Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan “could emerge as a serious candidate” to be his replacement, according to Yahoo! Sports NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
Brooks has gone 545-338 in seven years with the organization, finishing first in the Northwest Division in four straight seasons and making the playoffs in five consecutive campaigns. But Oklahoma City has yet to win an NBA title under Brooks and the team is facing some tough decisions in 2015-16 with injured superstar Kevin Durant’s health and contract situation both major concerns for the franchise.
Brooks, who is beloved by Durant, many of the Thunder players and a number of executives within the organization, is guaranteed through 2015-16 with a team option for 2016-17, but Oklahoma City may choose to go in a different “organizational direction” ahead of a season of change for the franchise, reports Wojnarowski.
With “several league sources close to Brooks [having] doubts about his job security,” Wojnarowski further reports that Donovan “could emerge as a serious candidate” for the job due to his “longstanding friendship” with general manager Sam Presti.
It has long been known that the Thunder job is one of a handful of especially interesting NBA opportunities for Donovan, who would only leave the Gators – and a close friend and trusted partner in athletic director Jeremy Foley – for a position where he felt an equal level of trust with management.
Donovan is not as close with Presti as he is with Foley, certainly, but a relationship has been forged, and it has long led to rumors about Donovan being interested in Oklahoma City should the organization move on from Brooks.
The Thunder have already hired two former Gators staffers and have long shown their respect for Donovan and his coaching methods.
This report also comes less than 24 hours after Florida signed the final two players in its 2015 recruiting class to National Letters of Intent and less than 72 hours after the Gators announced the return of assistant coach Anthony Grant.