Billy Donovan joins The Vertical Podcast
In his first extended interview since free agent Kevin Durant left for Golden State, Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan sat down with Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Donovan goes into detail on the circumstances around Durant’s departure, and Russell Westbrook’s decision to renegotiate his contract and eliminate his 2017 free agency. Donovan discusses the dynamic among Durant, Westbrook and Serge Ibaka throughout the Thunder’s season, and the franchise’s run into the Western Conference finals. Donovan describes how the team will be structured around Westbrook and how he envisions the All-Star guard’s role within the team structure. Donovan talks about his coaching journey, beginning as a Long Island high school guard playing Pearl Washington in New York, a college guard under Rick Pitino at Providence, and Donovan’s own minor league basketball career – as well as the Florida Gators. Donovan goes into detail on transforming from a quiet player into the kind of orator that has made him one of the game’s elite coaches. Here are some key moments: 0:38: The Thunder’s two meetings with Durant. 2:15: Donovan’s relationship with Durant and his focus on coaching every player on the roster without playing favorites. 7:19: How Donovan learned about the relationship between Durant and Westbrook. 9:05: The initial conversation with Westbrook after Durant’s departure. 13:40: Managing Ibaka’s desire for a larger role last season. 16:35: Rebounding from a blowout loss in Game 1 of the conference semifinals against the Spurs. 20:43: Losing Game 6 at home in the Western Conference finals against the Warriors. 27:13: Rick Pitino becoming Providence’s head coach during Donovan’s sophomore season. 44:24: Developing his voice as a head coach. 53:37: The differences in his role as an NBA coach compared to being a college coach. 57:16: The importance of this coming season to make Oklahoma City a free-agent destination.
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About The Show
Adrian Wojnarowski, the most dominant force in NBA reporting, brings you inside the league with The Woj Pod. Woj is probing the biggest newsmakers in the sport – from the commissioner, to general managers, coaches and star players – to bring listeners inside the processes, personas and stories that impact the NBA. Beyond longer sit-down interviews in our New York studios, Woj will deliver real-time podcasts with league personnel built around breaking news.