Report: Bulls paying Donovan $24M over four years

The Chicago Bulls gave new coach Billy Donovan a four-year contract with more than $24 million, The Athletic reported Thursday night.

The Bulls introduced Donovan on Thursday during a video conference call.

“The history. The organization. What the Bulls have meant to the game of basketball and to basketball worldwide,” Donovan said. “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.”

Donovan replaced Jim Boylen, who was let go in August after compiling a record of 39-84 (.317) since he was named Chicago’s head coach on Dec. 3, 2018.

Donovan, who came in third in NBA Coach of the Year voting this season, mutually agreed to leave the Thunder earlier this month after Oklahoma City lost Game 7 of the their first-round Western Conference playoff series to the Houston Rockets.

Donovan, 55, completed the five-year deal with the Thunder that he signed in April 2015.

Bulls vice president of operations Arturas Karnisovas said Thursday he aggressively pursued Donovan.

“Once he became available, we were relentless in terms of trying to find ways to continue communication and kind of to prove to Billy that we are the spot for him, a landing spot next,” Karnisovas said. “And we were able to do it.”

Under Donovan, the Thunder were 243-157 (.608) and made five consecutive trips to the playoffs. His winning percentage trails only Nick Nurse (.721), Steve Kerr (.709) and Gregg Popovich (.675) among active coaches.

In his first season in Oklahoma City, he led the Thunder to a 55-27 record and a berth in the Western Conference finals, which they lost to the Golden State Warriors in seven games.

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