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Report: Billy Donovan won’t return as Thunder coach

Billy Donovan won’t return as the Oklahoma City Thunder head coach for next season, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Donovan’s contract expired after the 2019-20 season and the sides have decided against pursuing an extension.

The Thunder made the playoffs this season but lost to the Houston Rockets in seven games in the first round of the playoffs. The franchise could be headed for a rebuild, as most pundits believe OKC general manager Sam Presti will look to trade All-Star point guard Chris Paul this offseason.

Donovan went 243-157 (.608) with OKC during the regular season and 18-23 in the playoffs. He led the team to the Western Conference Finals in his first season. However, the Thunder blew a 3-1 series lead to the Golden State Warriors. Kevin Durant then left OKC in the summer of 2016 and signed with the Warriors.

It’s going to be interesting to see which coach the franchise will interview and eventually hire. The roster, assuming Paul is traded, is headlined by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luguentz Dort and Darius Bazley. Danilo Gallinari becomes an unrestricted free agent this offseason and Dennis Schröder and Steven Adams will likely be traded if Paul is dealt.

Donovan deserves immense credit for guiding the Thunder to the playoffs this season after the team lost superstars Paul George and Russell Westbrook last offseason.

(EDITORS NOTE: The Thunder released a statement about the “mutual” decision to part ways with Billy Donovan.)