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Thunder GM says team ‘cast a wide net’ in coaching search before hiring Billy Donovan

Billy Donovan, Sam Presti

Billy Donovan, Sam Presti


The Thunder announced the firing of head coach Scott Brooks on April 22.

The Thunder announced the hiring of Billy Donovan on April 30.

That’s essentially a week that Oklahoma City had between when Brooks was notified and when the deal with Donovan was finalized. Yet the team’s GM, Sam Presti, insisted at Donovan’s introductory press conference that he conducted a thorough search for Brooks’ replacement.

From Royce Young of

Donovan, 49, was the only candidate interviewed for the Thunder’s position. Presti targeted Donovan as Brooks’ replacement and spent two days in Florida making the pitch to him.

“We cast a wide net, we stepped back and looked at lots of different people,” Presti said. “But as we were looking through the candidates and people we had identified, it became pretty evident to us that Billy Donovan was the right person for this position, to lead the Thunder on the sidelines.”

Interviewing only one candidate does not constitute anything close to a detailed search.

Ultimately, if Donovan is successful -- and in Oklahoma City, that success won’t be defined by wins and losses, but by whether or not Kevin Durant re-signs -- then this little detail won’t make a bit of difference. Donovan was Presti’s guy from the jump, and if it works out, that’s fine.

But saying otherwise, that the franchise “looked at lots of different people” in less than a week’s time?

It’s disingenuous, at best.