OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City Thunder conducted a video press conference between the local media and general manager Sam Presti.
The topics discussed were typical with the new normal — how long would teams need to prepare to return to play, the May 8th target date for some teams (depending on their state’s orders) to open up practice facilities.
While the short term future of the NBA is still on hold, questions for the long term pertaining to the Thunder remain. Most notably, the status of Billy Donovan.
Donovan has been the coach since 2015. With the current season on hiatus, the Thunder’s 2019-20 record stands at 40-24. Donovan’s record as head coach is 239-153 as of today.
“He’s (Donovan) been our coach for five years now and I think he’s done an excellent job all five years,” Presti told The Franchise. “We’ve always been really proud of the fact he is our coach.”
The Thunder typically don’t have contract talks during the season. Despite the season’s unique situation, that appears to remain the status quo.
“Our hope is that once we get some clarity on whether this is the end of the season or we’re playing more or we’re playing more or what have you,” Presti continued. “We’ll sit down and have those conversations like we always have.”
Presti, known for keeping everything close to the vest, remained in character despite the country being without professional basketball for 51 days. Despite his lack of specificity, Presti seemed optimistic moving forward with Donovan.
“Those conversations will remain private,” Presti said. “But I would say that I’m looking forward to it. I think he’s done a great job, and I’m hopeful that those are productive when there’s an appropriate time to do it.”
Whether this season ends or not, the Thunder’s plans moving forward are in the air at every turn. Coach and player contracts are foggy. Player evaluations for a shortened season or a finished season that included a 50-plus day hiatus appear almost impossible to prognosticate.
Presti seemed hopeful by taking the pragmatic view that the Thunder are not the only team that must deal with these problems.
“But everyone is experiencing this together, whatever that is,” Presti said. “And so I think that makes for a different mentality because it’s a universal adversity versus something happening that’s just so random and out of your hands and out of your control.”
This applied to how Presti views Donovan’s situation.
“I’m confident that at the right time we’ll be able to sit down and have a positive conversation with Billy about his future,” Presti told The Franchise. “We’ll also have a lot more information at that point in time about our team and the circumstances of the league in general.”
Brady Trantham has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for The Franchise since April 2018 and for Thunder Digest since 2016. He hosts a Thunder podcast with Madysson Morris “OKC-82 Podcast” which can be found on all podcast outlets, and is a co-host on the Franchise Thunder Insider’s Show on Saturdays from 10-12. Brady is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma class of 2014. Follow him on Twitter @BradyDoesSports