30 May 2007

Orlando Sentinel: Magic Contacted Billy Donovan's Agent

I'll file this one under "C" for "Coaching Developments, Least Surprising."

According to Tim Povtak of the Sentinel
, the Magic have contacted the agent who represents Billy Donovan. The Magic want to know if he is interested in leaving the University of Florida, where he won back-to-back national championships, for the NBA. This news comes despite of reports that Donovan is close to signing an extension with UF.

I'm not thrilled at the prospect of hiring Donovan. College coaches rarely enjoy success in the NBA. John Calipari, Tim Floyd, Lon Kruger, and Rick Pitino are just four college coaches who jumped to the pros and failed miserably. However, it could be argued that none of those coaches had a pro roster as talented as the Magic's right now, so Donovan might succeed here more than I expected. Former Magic head coach Doc Rivers, currently with Boston, agreed with that sentiment when he said the following:

"I've never bought into that thinking that they can't make it in the NBA. It's still just basketball. If you're a good coach and you have talent, you can be successful."
Fair enough, but I still doubt Donovan would leave UF under any circumstances. He has everything he wants there. With the Magic, he'd only be the head coach, because there's no way Otis Smith would ever relinquish his GM duties to him.

I wouldn't get too excited about this news. Billy Donovan is no dummy; he knows that the more he talks to pro teams, the more money UF will have to throw at him. Shaquille did the same thing to us ten years ago. The second he became a free agent, he knew he was going to sign with the Lakers. He told them that he was still undecided, which caused them to raise their offer. Then he left us. And that was all she wrote.

For another fan's take on the Donovan situation and what it might mean for Stan Van Gundy, I recommend reading this post by Black and Blue at his blog.

One more note: the Sentinel's report today mentions that Larry Brown, who has coached every basketball team in the history of the world at least once, told the Sentinel that he would consider returning to coaching. If the itch is still there, Larry should scratch it. Just not here. He already has a testy relationship with Darko Milicic and Trevor Ariza, both of whom he buried on the bench while choaching Detroit and New York, respectively. His inability to connect with younger players caused the U.S. Olympic team he coached in 2004 to win only a bronze medal. In short, he's not fit to coach the Magic, and I do not endorse his candidacy.

I need to return to Seven Seconds or Less, the book about the Phoenix Suns to which I alluded in my last post, now. I hope to have my impressions on Suns assistant Marc Iavaroni posted by tomorrow night.

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