One figure who’d been part of the Sixers’ head coaching search accepted another job on Tuesday.
Billy Donovan agreed to become the Bulls’ next head coach, the team announced.
In addition to the Sixers, the Pacers, Pelicans, Thunder and Rockets have head coaching vacancies. Tyronn Lue and Mike D’Antoni are among the candidates still in the mix for the Sixers.
Donovan made the playoffs in all five seasons as the Thunder’s head coach and finished third this year in Coach of the Year voting. He had a decorated 19-year run at Florida before moving to the NBA. With his contract expired, he parted ways with Oklahoma City after the Thunder fell to the Rockets in seven games in the first round of the playoffs.
In terms of the Sixers’ vacancy, Donovan’s adaptability and success coaching both young and veteran players were attractive qualities, though it was fair to wonder if he was the right coach to lead the Sixers’ ascent to true contention.
Ime Udoka, the Sixers’ lead assistant under Brett Brown, had seemed to be a strong candidate for the Chicago job. The rebuilding Bulls fired head coach Jim Boylen last month and are led by new executive vice president of basketball operations Artuas Karnisovas. Marc Eversley had been serving as the Sixers’ VP of player personnel until he left to become the Bulls’ GM in April.
As for the Sixers’ front office, nothing has changed yet this offseason, though GM Elton Brand said on Aug. 25 that he’d be doing a “thorough assessment.” Both the coaching search and the front office evaluation remain ongoing.