Thunder, Donovan part ways

WATCH - Thunder, Donovan part ways

The Thunder officially needs a new head coach. The team announced Tuesday night that it has parted ways with Billy Donovan.

Donovan led Oklahoma City to a 243-157 record in five seasons as head coach, making the playoffs each season.

“Coaching the Oklahoma City Thunder the past five seasons has been a great honor, and I thank Mr. Bennett, Sam and the entire organization for the opportunity,” said Billy Donovan. “I have a great respect and admiration for the players I coached in Oklahoma, and I also want to thank the coaches I worked with, who gave unbelievable time and expertise to our common goal. Lastly, I want to thank the Oklahoma City community for being so welcoming to my family during our time here. This place will always be special to us. I will always hold this organization in the highest regard and wish the Thunder and their fans the success they deserve.”

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The Thunder was one of the surprise teams in the NBA this season. OKC finished in fifth place in the Western Conference standings. Its season came to an end Wednesday, September 2 when OKC lost to Houston 104-102 in game seven of their first-round playoff series.

“I have great respect for Billy and will always appreciate our work together. He is a terrific basketball coach and we are proud of what he has accomplished with the Thunder,” said Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. “We had planned to sit down at the end of the season and discuss the best way to move forward for both of us. After those discussions, it became apparent that we couldn’t provide him the information on the future direction of the team over the next several seasons to give him the level of clarity that he understandably desires at this stage of his career. Therefore, we close this chapter and reflect fondly on all that he has given to the team, organization and community. Billy will always have a place in the Thunder family.”