CHICAGO — Billy Donovan wasn’t on the market for long – hardly a shocker given he’s won everywhere he’s coached.

That he’s headed to Chicago might be a surprise, only because big and bold moves have been few and far between for the team. Then again, these aren’t the same old Bulls.

Chicago struck it big Tuesday, hiring Donovan and landing one of the top candidates on the market to lead a rebuilding team with an overhauled front office.

The 55-year-old Donovan spent the past five seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He replaces Jim Boylen, who was fired after the Bulls finished 22-43 and were one of the eight teams that didn’t qualify for the NBA’s restart at Walt Disney World.

In a statement, Donovan thanked ownership and said he’s looking forward to working with new executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas.

“I’m excited to partner with Arturas as we work together on behalf of this historic franchise,” he said.

The Bulls came into the season with their sights set on a playoff spot. They were 11th in the Eastern Conference when play was stopped in March and decided they needed new leadership.

Chicago hired Karnisovas as executive vice president of basketball operations in April out of Denver’s front office and shifted John Paxson into an advisory role. The Bulls also brought in General Manager Marc Eversley to replace the fired Gar Forman, and they let Boylen go last month.

Donovan went 243-157 as coach of the Thunder and reached the playoffs each year. He was a finalist for Coach of the Year this season after his team outperformed expectations and pushed the Houston Rockets to seven games in the first round of the playoffs. But with his contract expiring, the Thunder announced two weeks ago he would not return, saying it was a mutual decision.

Before his time with the Thunder, Donovan coached for 19 seasons at the University of Florida, winning two NCAA titles.


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