OKLAHOMA CITY- Billy Donovan will not return as the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder next season.
The franchise announced they had mutually parted ways with Donovan in a press release on Tuesday evening.
“We had planned to sit down at the end of the season and discuss the best way to move forward for both of us,” Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti said in the release.
“After those discussions, it became apparent that we couldn’t provide him the information on the future direction of the team over the next several seasons to give him the level of clarity that he understandably desires at this stage of his career.”
Since Donovan’s appointment in 2015, the Thunder have recorded a record of 243-157, including five straight playoff appearances. Oklahoma City has not advanced out of the first round since Donovan’s first year as the head coach.
“Coaching the Oklahoma City Thunder the past five seasons has been a great honor, and I thank Mr. Bennett, Sam and the entire organization for the opportunity,” Donovan said.
“I have a great respect and admiration for the players I coached in Oklahoma, and I also want to thank the coaches I worked with, who gave unbelievable time and expertise to our common goal.”
“Lastly, I want to thank the Oklahoma City community for being so welcoming to my family during our time here,” he said. “This place will always be special to us.”
The Thunder took much of the league by surprise this season, finishing as the fifth seed in the Western Conference behind a resurgence from Chris Paul and career years from Dennis Schroder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Oklahoma City finished 44-28 before pushing the Houston Rockets to a Game 7 in their first round series.
The 2020 co-Coach of the Year as voted by the National Basketball Coaches Association should have many suitors this offseason, with reports of the Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers already showing interest in Donovan.
“We close this chapter and reflect fondly on all that he has given to the team, organization and community,” Presti said.
“Billy will always have a place in the Thunder family.”