Florida head coach Billy Donovan, along with UConn’s Kevin Ollie and Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg, is on a short list of college coaches who are being targeted for NBA coaching vacancies this offseason.
Last Thursday, it was reported that Donovan, who for agreed to coach the Orlando Magic in 2007 before reversing his decision and returning to UF, had been contacted by the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team with the top pick in next month’s NBA Draft. With SEC Spring Meetings taking place this week, Donovan explained to reporters on Tuesday why he hasn’t ruled out a possible jump to the NBA, offering no guarantee about his future in Gainesville.
“I think when you start making guarantees about life and start making guarantees about where you’re going to be, that’s not good,” he said. “If for some reason I ever change my mind and did something, I wouldn’t want (people) saying, ‘Well, he promised, he guaranteed, he said this on record.’ I just think when you start doing that, that’s a mistake.
“I’ve seen a lot of coaches over the years come out and say, ‘No, no, no, no, I’m not going anywere, I’m not going anywhere,’ and then all of a sudden they go somewhere and it’s like, ‘Well, this guy is a complete liar.’ I don’t want to get into that situation. There’s been some teams that have called, but that’s really it.”
Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated appeared on the Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday morning (video above), mainly to discuss his column on Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera. But in the final minute of the interview, Patrick asked Mannix to provide a coaching update for teams around the NBA. Cleveland is looking for a college coach, said Mannix, and based on what Cleveland can offer Donovan, Mannix believes the longtime Gators coach could still head to the NBA.
Donovan has won 451 games in his 18 seasons at Florida. In March, he signed an extension through 2019. The Gators are projected to finish at the top of the SEC once again, along with likely preseason No. 1 Kentucky.