The Oklahoma City Thunder have picked up the option on coach Billy Donovan's contract for the 2019-20 season, the final year of his original five-year deal, the team said.
Donovan has a 169-106 (.615) record in his three-plus seasons with the Thunder, trailing only Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich and Brad Stevens for victories with one team in that span of time.
"It's great. It's great," Thunder star Paul George said after a 121-96 rout of the Bulls on Monday. "I'm here for multiple years. Russ is here for multiple years. Coach will be here for multiple years. That's good. That's good for Billy. I just know how it could be, with pressure. Sam [Presti] really alleviated that and just allowed him to coach us and not have to worry about that."
Presti, the Thunder's executive VP and GM, has worked closely with Donovan, whom he hired out of Florida three years ago, and considered the guaranteeing of the contract largely a formality. It is possible that a strong playoff performance could have moved the organization to pursue a contract extension with Donovan, but his contract is now guaranteed through next season.
"For me, I've always had a great relationship with Sam, great communication, dialogue," Donovan said. "When he told me today what he wanted to do, I'm grateful, appreciative, thankful for [Thunder owner Clay] Bennett and Sam. But I've always just felt like, for me, I try to do my job every single day. I get a chance to coach a great group of guys."
Donovan has the Thunder in third place in the Western Conference, 19-10 and one game behind first-place Denver. Oklahoma City has lost in the opening round of the playoffs the past two seasons after reaching the Western Conference finals against Golden State in 2016 with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
"I didn't hear about it until just now," Westbrook said after Monday's game. "But I mean, that's exciting, man. Billy's been nothing but great for our organization, for myself. He's been very understanding since he first got here and is the same now, and I'm excited to have him back."
Donovan won two national championships and reached three Final Fours at Florida before Presti recruited him to the NBA in 2015 to replace Scott Brooks.