OKLAHOMA CITY – Thunder General Manager Sam Presti said Monday "We expect Billy [Donovan] to be back," referring to whether the team's head coach will come back next season.
Presti said he has not officially met Donovan plans to do so in the coming days and the door needs to be broken for something to change. To clarify whether "anticipating" means Donovan will be the coach next season, Presti said that was his expectation.
"I would not expect anything to change," he said. "I did not have a chance to sit down with him, I think it's important that he takes his view on things because there's no one working harder than him, if anything, I think he's taking some time off need to think through the season itself and have a really good conversation. "
Donovan enters the final year of a five-year contract he signed when he was hired by the Thunder in 201
The Thunder had a "disappointing" and "frustrating" season, Presti said, bowing to in the first round in five games] Portland Trail Blazers. The thunder were 37-19 at a certain time of the season, but stumbled down the track, reaching 49-33. Presti said he saw the season as 70 percent good and 30 percent bad, but it is also the third exit in the first round in a row for the Thunder.
"I do not think you can not ignore the fact that we kicked our ass," Presti said. "That can not be avoided, but I think anyone who is objective and anyone more than a temporary problem solver would probably step back and look at the whole thing, so if you try to answer your question, it means 'I'm not saying I have the answer, and I would think if you did, you should not listen to me, because I would come here only with an emotional outlook, which I as a leader can not do. "
Donovan In all four seasons, he led the Thunder to the playoffs, including the Western Conference final and a 3-1 lead over the 73-winner Warriors in 2016 (the Thunder lost the series in seven games, and then Kevin Durant joined the Warriors in free agency). The Thunder then won 47 games, 48 games and 49 games.
"When we were in the Western Conference playoffs in just two minutes before the final in 2016, I thought he did a great job," Presti said. "I do not think he is different when he was there."
Presti noted Thunder's defensive improvements this season (fourth in the defensive rating), a declared off-season goal for the team, and Donovan's ability in after-timeout games.
"I think he's doing a really good job," Presti said about Donovan. "But these jobs are really tough, you can put up the best games, or you put together what you think is a really good team, and sometimes it does not succeed, because there are so many other competing factors and forces playing, and ultimately is it the question of whether we all or not – if I say so, every single person in the organization – can try to get the most out of what we have, you know, that is one unit. "
Donovan have a solid relationship with his players, notably Russell Westbrook and Paul George (19459006), who both made positive comments to their coach last week.
"I've never had a problem coach Donovan," said Westbrook. "We have always been straightforward with each other and always had good communication between respect for each other's jobs and respect for how hard we both work at what we want best for this team."
George said, "I think that's it. The best part about Billy is that he takes our input and it's always an open dialogue, and he's open to coaching and adjustments. It's a great communication with Billy."