The Cleveland Cavaliers were willing to break the bank to lure John Calipari out of Lexington, Ky. and to Cleveland. Now, the team may be turning to its attention to another prominent college coach.
Florida’s Billy Donovan has remained in contact with Cavs management regarding to head coach position, according to Yahoo! Sports. There is some skepticism about Donovan’s comfort level about moving up to the professional ranks.
Billy Donovan has remained in contact with Cavs, sources say, but no one connected to process believes he has comfort level to make leap.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 9, 2014
Donovan was close to being the coach of the Orlando Magic in 2007 before the position was given to Stan Van Gundy. Donovan decided not to take the job in the 11th hour.
Donovan, along with Calipari and Tom Izzo, were the some of college hoops coaches being considered for Cleveland’s opening. Calipari just signed a seven-year extension to remain with Kentucky, while Izzo again has said he’s happy staying at Michigan State.
But Donovan previously would not rule out leaving Florida, saying the NBA still intrigues him.
“All I can say is I love Florida, I’m happy here, Jeremy’s been great, the school’s been great to me,” Donovan said, via The Cleveland Plain-Dealer. “But at the same point, some of the NBA stuff, as I’ve said before, is intriguing in a lot of ways — the basketball part of it. That’s not to say that I’m unhappy here; that’s not the case at all.”
A report by Yahoo! Sports Monday indicated the Cavs were willing to pay Calipari an annual salary of more than $8 million. Perhaps if Cavs management made a similar offer to Donovan, he could be persuaded to finally leave Gainesville. Donovan currently makes $3.7 million per year and under contract through 2018-19.
In the meantime, Cleveland has plans to bring Los Angeles Clippers assistants Tyronn Lue and Alvin Gentry in for second interviews. Donovan is still likely a darkhorse, but one to keep an eye on.