Billy Donovan Rumors
Donovan, who is entering his second season, struggled at times last regular season, but he guided the Thunder to the brink of the NBA Finals before Oklahoma City blew a 3-1 series lead to Golden State. “It’s been tremendous to work with Billy. He is really committed to and invested in [success] for the organization,” Presti said. “We really saw his growth during the season, but I thought the most impressive thing he was able to do last year was take a longer view and allow a commitment to the process of improvement to really drive our results. This season coming in, he’s going to have encountered a lot of the different first-time challenges any coach would encounter. He did an exceptional job last year dealing with a lot of uncertainties.”
I never asked to be traded, even though there was a lot of media conjecture that I was unhappy with my role. I had an exit meeting with Billy Donovan and Sam Presti after the season, and it went well. But this is still a business, everybody has to do what’s best for them, and I let my agent deal with the business side of things. I just focus on basketball. I’m not the kind of guy who’s going to go in and ask for a trade, and I would have been happy staying with the Thunder.
When I woke up that Friday, I checked my phone and saw that I had missed calls from my agent, manager and dad. That’s when I knew that the rumors must have been true, and that my time in Oklahoma City had come to an end. I called my manager, who asked me to meet him in the hotel lobby. There he told me that I had been traded to the Magic. I spent most of that day on phone speaking to different people, including Orlando’s GM Rob Hennigan. He used to work for the Thunder, and I’ve known him for a while. He told me how happy he was to add me to the team, how he trusted me, and believed in me. That conversation made me feel good about my new opportunity and the future.
Did Durant deceive the Thunder in any way? Donovan, via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports: I think Kevin on the front end was very, very honest. When the season ended, he was going to go through this process, and he was going to take a meeting with us obviously first and then he was going to have some other teams he was going to meet with. And I think a little bit later on, after the season ended, they decided to do it out in the Hamptons. But I thought the meeting that we had went very well. I think we talked about basketball. We talked about our team. We talked about direction, talked about obviously his leadership, his role – all those kind of things. And I think, leaving the meeting, it was very, very, I thought, positive. I thought it was very, very clear. I think there was direction on both sides.
And the one thing I think with Kevin was that going through nine years with the organization, he was at a point in time where he was allowed obviously to be this free agent and go through this process and start to gather some information. We were the first meeting. So, obviously, I think, being in college for so long and you go through recruiting, you know that during that process things can change through some of these different meetings. And obviously, after meeting with Golden State, things probably in his mind probably changed.