Billy Donovan, on paper, appeared to be the perfect fit to coach the Bulls, and apparently, the organization that hired him felt the same way.
It looks like the Bulls got the guy they wanted to fill the void left by Jim Boylen — a coach that the majority of the team’s players clearly did not believe in — judging by how aggressively they pursued him.
Donovan, given what he accomplished with such a young roster this season, deserved to be in the Coach of the Year discussion, but the Thunder appear to be in a rebuild, so spending money doesn’t look to be in their strategic plan at this time, especially with questions looming about revenue going forward. A possibility does exist that teams could be playing games in arenas with fans next season, but there’s a lot of uncertainty about revenue for NBA organizations over the next few years, and some of them are already incorporating that outlook into their plan for the future.
And that’s probably why the Thunder didn’t offer Donovan a new contract, but the Bulls, given all their struggles over the past decade, had no problem breaking the bank to land him. In fact, they awarded him a four-year, $24 million contract, making him one of the higher-paid coaches in the league.
The Bulls began pursuing Donovan immediately after he and the Thunder parted ways, which he spoke about on Thursday.
The Bulls players are in need of discipline and structure, which is exactly what Donovan will bring to the table. It may have cost them a good deal of money, but it should prove to be the perfect hire going forward, as he’ll get the most out of his players — an area Boylen really struggled in.