With Billy Donovan reportedly hired by the Oklahoma City Thunder, it's time to start sifting through the reactions...
It's the right move
I almost wrote 1,000+ words on this, but it seems obvious: Donovan is making the best move for himself, writes Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel (I know), and he was unlikely to ever going to get a chance like this again. And it's a good move for the Thunder, too, writes USA TODAY's Sam Amick:
For all the bad breaks that Brooks endured, the harsh truth is that all those years of falling short created a cloud of disappointment that would have hovered over them all until the championship trophy was in their grips. There's no way to know whether Brooks & Co. might have finally reached that mountaintop at the perfect time next season, and that alone is reason enough to lament that they didn't get that chance. But Donovan would clear some of those clouds even without having to win it all just yet, all while crystallizing Presti's vision for the future in ways that would have been murky had he simply stood pat.
The notion of Donovan coming to Oklahoma City without any assurances about the future of the Thunder stars would speak highly of Presti, who has decided to be purposeful at every turn during this uncertain time of transition. Donovan doesn't do this unless he knows that his GM is one of the best roster-builders in the executive game, and his willingness to leave the Florida job that included 19 years, two national championships and four Final Four appearances to partner with Presti would show the kind of faith that they can only hope Durant and Westbrook still have by this time next year. And as was the case with the Golden State Warriors when they decided to fire Mark Jackson and hire Steve Kerr, the end-game here is to evolve in the kinds of ways that may not have been possible under the past regime.
Of course, there is one noted bloviator who doesn't like the move:
Billy Donovan not right fit for Durant/Westbrook or right man to keep either in OKC long term. Presti wants Donovan b/c HE loves him.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) April 29, 2015
What does Florida do now?
The lead time for the Donovan decision gave all sorts of outlets time to work up their thoughts on the move — and produced some quality content.
Sporting News writer Mike DeCourcy runs down 13 (!) candidates to replace Donovan. A roundtable of Scout experts evaluates the Florida job — consensus: it's on the fringe of the top 10, nationally — and proffers its own candidates. Adam Silverstein runs down 11 candidates at Only Gators. Jeff Goodman's list of candidates for ESPN Insider ($) mentions Mike Miller, for some reason. (Premium content!) Kevin Brockway of The Gainesville Sun has a short list of candidates. And Sports Illustrated's Brian Hamilton has a fine look, with numbers, at the questions now facing Jeremy Foley.
The Donovan legacy
I'm biased, but I think my original piece is strong writing on his career arc. Richard Johnson's piece on Donovan the man and his process is excellent, too — and the one he wrote on Donovan for The Alligator in February, as he closed in on 500 career wins, is strong work.
If you see things you think we should link, feel free to drop them in the comments.