Billy Donovan says he wanted to join Bulls as new coach due to their ‘iconic’ place in the history of the game


Billy Donovan didn’t have to wait long to find another job. Just a few weeks after parting ways with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Donovan was hired by the Chicago Bulls. Signing a four-year deal worth a reported $24 million, Donovan was introduced as the Bulls new coach at a press conference on Thursday. 

During the interview portion, Donovan explained why he was so interested in the job, saying he was enticed by the challenge of rebuilding an “iconic” franchise. Via ESPN:

“The history. The organization. What the Bulls have meant to the game of basketball and to basketball worldwide. I mean, it’s an iconic franchise, and certainly to be a part of trying to help build it back up was certainly very, very appealing and exciting. I know it’s going to take a lot of work.”

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, one of the main reasons Donovan didn’t want to stick around in Oklahoma City, is because the Thunder were approaching a rebuild. It’s interesting, then, that Donovan was willing to take over a Bulls team in the middle of one themselves, and shows how much the chance to work for a big-name franchise was a factor in his decision to move to Chicago. 

The fact that the Bulls still have that sway with people around the league, despite having won just five playoff series since Michael Jordan’s retirement in 1998, is impressive, and something their new front office should try to take advantage of beyond a new coach. 

As for the team itself, the Bulls are currently taking part in workouts inside their own mini-bubble in Chicago. Due to the format of the season restart in Orlando, the Bulls were one of eight teams not invited, and haven’t played any games since the shutdown in early March. In order to help those teams keep up from a competitive standpoint, the league allowed them to set up their own bubbles in their home markets for practices and training. Donovan isn’t there, however, as the timing of his hiring didn’t line up well with the necessary quarantine time for him to join. 

Chicago finished last season 22-43, settling for a fourth-straight trip to the lottery, where they won the No. 4 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, which is set for Nov. 18. On that night, they’ll have the chance to add another talented player to a roster that, despite its lack of success, has some real pieces. What Donovan can do with them all will be interesting to see. 





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