Take Billy Donovan off the 76ers' wish list.
The former Oklahoma City Thunder coach was on a short list of candidates for a second round of interviews for the Sixers' vacant head-coaching position. However, he agreed to a deal Tuesday to become the next coach of the Chicago Bulls.
Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Ty Lue and former Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni are still expected to meet with the Sixers.
Donovan was sold on the vision for the Sixers' talented young roster. The 55-year-old met with Sixers general manager Elton Brand in Florida last week for the first round of interviews. He didn’t participate in the second round due to accepting the Bulls job.
Donovan has coached the Oklahoma City Thunder the last five seasons. This season, Donovan was named co-coach of the year along with the Milwaukee Bucks' Mike Budenholzer, by the National Basketball Coaches Association. He was in the last season of the five-year deal he signed with the Thunder after a successful stint at the University of Florida, where Donovan coached Al Horford and won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2006 and 2007.
Donovan went 243-157 with Oklahoma City. The Sixers are left with D’Antoni and Lue as their candidates.
D’Antoni, 69, is familiar with the Sixers organization after serving five months as the team’s associate head coach during the 2015-16 season. The Rockets hired him on June 1, 2016. The Sixers players loved him, and some were sad when he left to accept the Rockets' coaching position. He previously served as the head coach with the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, and Denver Nuggets.
Lue, 43, has an NBA championship pedigree. As a player with the Los Angeles Lakers, he was part of title teams in 2000 and 2001, and he served as Cleveland’s head coach when the Cavaliers won their only NBA title in 2016. Lue also took the Cavaliers to the Finals the next two years.