Billy Donovan will be named the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder, reports ESPN’s Marc Stein. An announcement naming Donovan as coach will come either Thursday or Friday, according to the report.

Donovan led the Florida Gators to two national championships in almost 20 years as the university’s head coach. He briefly accepted the Orlando Magic coaching job in the summer of 2007, but returned to Florida a few days after his introductory press conference.

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The Thunder let former head coach Scott Brooks go after the team failed to make the playoffs this season, largely due to Kevin Durant’s injury troubles. Donovan is under the gun to win right away in Oklahoma City—Durant can opt-out of his contract will be a free agent after this upcoming season and have his pick of teams to join. According to Stein’s sources, Durant has sent “optimistic signals” about his new head coach, whatever that means.

Donovan appeared to be the top choice for the Thunder job from the moment Brooks was fired. Other names that floated out there—most notably UConn’s Kevin Ollie—never really seemed to have a serious chance. It’s certainly possible that Donovan can be a great NBA coach. With the Durant situation looming, Donovan’s first season is at least assured to be interesting.

[ESPN]

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