Billy Donovan has agreed to a five-year deal worth about $30 million to become head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
After 19 years and two national titles at the University of Florida, Donovan is leaving for the NBA.
The expectations for Donovan are immediate and massive: He must help convince Kevin Durant to sign a long-term extension with the Thunder, and push an immensely talented roster toward its first championship.
Durant, the 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player, can become a free agent in the summer of 2016.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti has long targeted Donovan to replace the deposed Scott Brooks, and was the only candidate he pursued, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Durant reached out to multiple former University of Florida players in the NBA to gain insight into Donovan, league sources told Yahoo Sports, and became generally positive about the hiring.
Elsewhere on the roster, how much initial enthusiasm the hiring of Donovan will bring, league sources told Yahoo Sports. For a franchise chasing short- and long-term championship aspirations, some are uncertain about a college coach's ability to lead an immediate title push.
Donovan turned down offers to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves a year ago. He agreed to become the Orlando Magic's head coach in 2007, only to change his mind and return to Florida after signing a contract and holding a news conference. The NBA did not allow him to be considered for head-coaching jobs until the term of that five-year agreement ended.
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