Thunder near deal with Billy Donovan on multiyear contract

The Oklahoma City Thunder are nearing an agreement with Billy Donovan on a multiyear deal that will make the two-time NCAA title winner their new coach, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that an announcement confirming Donovan as the replacement for the ousted Scott Brooks is likely to come as soon as Thursday or Friday.

ESPN.com first reported early Wednesday that the Thunder and the Florida Gators coach had entered into serious dialogue about the position.

Sources said Wednesday night that only an unforeseen collapse at this stage would prevent the sides from finalizing a deal after two days of advanced negotiations.

The Thunder job would technically be Donovan's second in the NBA, but he has never coached a game in the league. He agreed to become the Orlando Magic's coach in 2007 after back-to-back titles with the Gators, only to reverse course days later and ask out of his Orlando contract.

But as ESPN.com reported in early April, there has been ‎a strong sense in NBA coaching circles that Donovan -- who will turn 50 in May -- is more ready than ever to make the jump.

Doing so with the Thunder would unite Donovan with a close friend in Thunder general manager Sam Presti and afford him the opportunity to coach two of the game's top 10 players, although free agency looms for both Kevin Durant (2016) and Russell Westbrook (2017).

Sources say that Durant, with signs increasingly pointing to Donovan as the Thunder's inevitable top choice from the moment Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie withdrew from consideration last week, has been sending optimistic signals about playing for Donovan -- despite his lack of NBA experience -- after doing his own research on the Florida coach.