Yahoo! Sports columnist encourages Billy Donovan to return to college basketball
You don’t have to be the biggest pro basketball fan to know that this NBA offseason has been marked by blockbuster moves, one after another. Two of those moves have resulted in the Oklahoma City Thunder losing star players.
First, the Thunder traded All-Star Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers for a large collection of draft picks. The club also recently traded away fellow All-Star and former MVP Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for aging superstar Chris Paul and more draft picks.
It’s clear that Oklahoma City is looking at a long-term rebuild. Yahoo! Sports columnist Pat Forde is encouraging Thunder coach Billy Donovan to come back to college basketball instead of sticking out a multi-year rebuild in OKC.
“Come on back to campus, Billy Donovan,” Forde writes to open his Friday column.
Come back to college basketball, where you’re a once and future king. Have your choice of some plum jobs that could be coming open. Win a couple more national titles.
Get away from the NBA and the looming rebuild in Oklahoma City. All around you, superstar alliances are sprouting up. Meanwhile, your roster has been stripped for spare parts and draft picks — Paul George gone, now Russell Westbrook gone, and you’re left with 34-year-old Chris Paul as the new centerpiece.
If Donovan returns to the college game, it will certainly get the attention of Florida and Kentucky basketball fans. With a change likely a season away, Forde is obviously just spitballing in his column, but the Yahoo! writer does not forecast Donovan coming back to the SEC:
NCAA investigations at Kansas and Arizona will inevitably lead to notices of allegations, and sanctions could stimulate change at those two locales. The question is whether any presumptive sanctions could lessen the attractiveness of moving to Lawrence or Tucson. If Donovan doesn’t want to be part of a laborious rebuilding job at the NBA level, he wouldn’t want it at the college level, either.
Indiana would check boxes for Donovan, and its fans already are growing restless with Archie Miller after two seasons with a 35-31 record, 17-21 in the Big Ten. Much of the Hoosier State is pining away for Brad Stevens to come back to college, but the former Butler coach might be less likely to do so than Donovan at this stage in their careers.
And what about retirements? They have to happen eventually, right? The head coaches at North Carolina, Duke and Syracuse are 68, 72 and 74, respectively. And none of them has a no-brainer, sure-fire, heir apparent — certainly nobody with two national championships and four Final Fours on the resumé.
The column is purely speculative, but if Oklahoma City is out of NBA playoff contention when college teams start making changes in March/April, hoops fans can probably expect a lot of Donovan rumors.