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Billy Donovan has "formally commenced" talks with Oklahoma City Thunder, per ESPN

The first step to a departure from Florida? Maybe. But maybe not, too.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder have "formally commenced discussions" with Florida head coach Billy Donovan about their vacant head coaching position, ESPN's Marc Stein reported Wednesday morning.

Sources told that Donovan and Thunder general manager Sam Presti have opened a dialogue about the position, which became available a week ago after the dismissal of Scott Brooks.


Donovan is the first known candidate to talk with the Thunder about the job. It was not immediately clear how many other candidates, if any, Presti plans to sit down with.

The rest of Stein's report is a rehash of what we've known for a while: The NBA expects Donovan to join the Thunder; Donovan's NBA interest is said to be at a historic high; Donovan still has significant ties to Florida and to Gainesville that might be mitigating factors. The news here is the opening of formal talks, which would seem to suggest that Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley has given his blessing for Donovan to talk to the Thunder.

But this is also just the latest report of many from NBA writers on Donovan — and Donovan hasn't really ever had news break through NBA writers. Stein and Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski (who knows the Thunder well) have been leading the pack on Donovan, and they're both almost certainly getting their sourcing from NBA folks, and very possibly the Thunder.

On the college basketball side, the people who would normally be reporting anything about Florida and Donovan — like ESPN's Jeff Goodman, who has been the national reporter closest to the ground with the Gators in recent years, thanks largely to his relationship with the Murphy family that has sent Erik and Alex to Gainesville — are dealing in hedging.

For Donovan, the choice seems to remain clear: Step up to a new challenge and the biggest change in your professional life in two decades, or stay where you are revered, beloved, and rooted.

What we learned today is that Donovan will hear Presti out — as everyone expected.

So, really, we didn't learn much.