The Chicago Bulls introduced Billy Donovan as their new head coach Thursday, and the bench boss described how Bulls management courted him as soon as he parted ways with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sept. 8.
"Right after my time at OKC ended, I got up at 7 a.m., got in my car, and drove back to see my family in Florida," Donovan said. "Seventeen-hour drive ... (Bulls executive vice-president Arturas Karnisovas) called me and wanted me to come in Friday (Sept. 11)."
Donovan continued: "I told him, 'I just drove 17 hours, can we talk Monday (Sept. 14)?' He and (general manager Marc Eversley) came in and we spent about five-and-a-half hours in person. Their values were really important to me. Arturas did an enormous amount of homework on me, and he wanted me to do the same for him."
Terms of Donovan's contract with the Bulls are $24 million-plus over four years, sources told The Athletic's Shams Charania, putting him in the upper echelon of NBA coaching salaries.
Donovan's split with the Thunder came as something of a surprise, although it's been reported that OKC's movement toward a rebuild didn't interest the 55-year-old.
"At OKC, we were in the middle of Coby White going on his tear," Donovan said. "Lauri is a unique player with his skill set and ability, Zach has great offensive ability and can create shots. I recruited Wendell and think he's a really high-character, talented big man."
Bulls players appear on board with Donovan's hiring. LaVine was captured hearing about the news while playing Call of Duty. "That'll be good ... (he's a) really good coach," LaVine said.
Donovan never missed the playoffs in his five years with the Thunder. He previously coached Florida for 19 years, winning two NCAA championships.