The Chicago Bulls have hired former Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan as their new head coach, the team announced Tuesday.
Arturas Karnisovas, the Bulls’ executive vice president of basketball operations, aggressively pursued Donovan after the coach left the Oklahoma City Thunder, sources said, selling Donovan on a partnership and vision for a talented young roster and a chance to lead one of the league’s anchor franchises.
Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley believed Donovan was the best coach available and that his track record in Oklahoma City — including five straight trips to the playoffs in the Western Conference — made him a good fit for the Bulls.
Donovan, 55, was the National Basketball Coaches Association’s co-Coach of the Year with the Milwaukee Bucks’ Mike Budenholzer for 2019-20. The NBA’s coaches vote on the award.
Karnisovas dismissed former coach Jim Boylen in May and talked with a number of candidates before extending the offer to Donovan.
In his first season with Oklahoma City, Donovan advanced to the West finals with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and he reached the playoffs in each of the next four campaigns. Donovan was 243-157 (.608) as the OKC coach. He signed a five-year deal with the Thunder upon arriving from the University of Florida, where he won two national championships.
The Bulls are counting on Donovan to give them a lift after the team missed the postseason for the fourth time in five years.