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Billy Donovan out as Thunder coach after 5 seasons

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan, rear, looks onto the court as Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) walks by during the second half of an NBA first-round playoff basketball game in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020.  (Associated Press)
Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan, rear, looks onto the court as Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) walks by during the second half of an NBA first-round playoff basketball game in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. (Associated Press)
By Cliff Brunt Associated Press

Billy Donovan won’t return as coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder after five seasons, the team announced Tuesday night.

Donovan, who was at the end of his contract, took the Thunder to the playoffs every year and was a finalist for Coach of the Year this season after his squad outperformed expectations and pushed the Houston Rockets to seven games in the first round of the playoffs.

Donovan went 243-157 with Oklahoma City. Before that, he led the University of Florida to two national championships and four Final Four appearances in 19 seasons.

The team and Donovan described his departure as a mutual decision. Thunder general manager Sam Presti said he couldn’t give Donovan the assurances he wanted about the future.

“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,” Presti said.

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