FanDuel - WFBC

May 31, 2007

Billy Donovan's Magical Payday: On the heels of back-to-back NCAA titles, he turned down the Kentucky job and apparently decided to sign a long-term extension with Florida. But now, for upwards of $36 million over 6 years, Billy Donovan is headed for the NBA's Orlando Magic, according to the Orlando Sentinel and ESPN.

posted by Venicemenace to basketball at 06:48 PM - 27 comments

Bonus video: Orlando sportswriters discuss the news. Kind of tough to concentrate on it, though, as one of them has unleashed mulletude so powerful, looking at him is like staring directly at the sun.

posted by Venicemenace at 06:51 PM on May 31

Also - ESPN's report has the contract at 27.5m over 5 years.

posted by Venicemenace at 06:52 PM on May 31

I would say bad move, but that's a lot of money. I predict he'll flameout like most college coaches and take a marquee job back in the NCAA in the next 3-5.

posted by holden at 08:23 PM on May 31

That was an intense mullet. It was so bad, the second i saw him, i couldn't help but laught out loud for a bit. He is the real story here.

posted by brainofdtrain at 08:48 PM on May 31

Donovan was able to double his money without totally uprooting his family from the region. Hope he talked to Calipari beforehand about the cozy nuances of the NBA experience. Don't know if he would have wanted to talk to Pitino about it. Pitino was a good NBA coach with someone else picking the talent, but a radioactive bomb running the whole show in Boston. I think Donovan will miss the spirit of the college game. He will be able to afford to walk away from the NBA after a season or two. Hope he's ready for a little culture shock in the meantime. Gainesville has some intriguing back roads and side streets. Downstate, you've got the mickeymouse empire, over-affluent top echelon golfers, and evangelicals. I'd have to be getting Donovan money to allow myself to be domiciled in that kind of environment.

posted by beaverboard at 10:28 PM on May 31

I really wish Donovan the best. Even though his Gators will remain my arch-rival in the SEC, I've always thought he was a gentleman who ran a clean program. Good luck, Billy, and congratulations on the cash.

posted by jm_mosier at 05:36 AM on June 01

Good move for Donovan. I'm not saying good move meaning he's going to succeed in the NBA. This is the best time for him to make the jump, though. He's capitalizing on his major appeal, which is at its peak right now, and cashing in big-time. Give the NBA a shot, and if it's not for him, take your choice of NCAA jobs, ala Nick Saban. Leaving Florida, although probably hard for him, makes perfect sense. How can you possibly top winning two championships in a row? Win three is the obvious answer, but he lost his roster, and that wasn't going to happen. The only direction for him and the Gators to go, at least for a few years, was down. I agree that he'll miss the excitement of college ball, though, after watching the ho-hum boredom of the NBA regular season.

posted by dyams at 07:21 AM on June 01

Ok, Billy Donovan left the Gators to coach the Orlando Magic, big deal. That was an intense mullet. It was so bad, the second i saw him, i couldn't help but laught out loud for a bit. He is the real story here. True that. Dude had the Barry Melrose mullet going on. All business up front, party in the back. Great link, thanks Venice. That shit had me rolling. Seriously though, having Billy as the new Magic coach will only improve them. He'll take this young team and bring in a different mentality that'll only help develop (young) players like Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson. This should be fun to watch.

posted by BornIcon at 08:11 AM on June 01

Good luck to him. It is difficult to imagine a better situation in which to leave. He has been so successful at Florida that it makes sense for him to give the NBA a try. Plus, he leaves the team with a lot of talent for the next coach to work with. Downstate, you've got the mickeymouse empire, over-affluent top echelon golfers, and evangelicals. I'd have to be getting Donovan money to allow myself to be domiciled in that kind of environment. Give me a freakin' break. Orlando is a huge upgrade over Gainesville unless you are a farmer.

posted by bperk at 08:44 AM on June 01

The upside: Dwight Howard's a monster and the Magic are young and pretty close to being a playoff team. They've even gotten out from under the Grant Hill deal, finally. Attendance this season was the highest in 11 years and the Magic are building a new arena. The downside: The new arena's not even starting construction for another year. The current arena's one of the worst sports facilities in the U.S. and has been managed terribly by the city of Orlando. No one wanted to put their name on it after T.D. Waterhouse's deal expired, so the owner of the team used his company's name -- so it's now Amway Arena. As if being associated with a multi-level marketing company wasn't bad enough, Amway is apparently waiting for some money to trickle up the pyramid of prosperity before they spend any on the arena. When I went to a game to see LeBron James last season, the ushers had Amway stickers on their jackets like the ones you'd give to a child for being good at the dentist. Several were peeling off. Last weekend, I drove by the arena and was shocked to see one side had the "T.D. Waterhouse" sign up. At first I thought the name had changed back, but it was just because the covering for the old sign had fallen off. Eight months after renaming the arena, they still haven't put Amway signs up. So Donovan's coming to a franchise where the players are good and fan support is growing, but everything else is bad. I hope he does well, but my bet is we'll see him back in college coaching by the fourth year of this deal.

posted by rcade at 08:49 AM on June 01

Give me a freakin' break. Orlando is a huge upgrade over Gainesville unless you are a farmer. Depends on what you're farming.

posted by beaverboard at 09:10 AM on June 01

I know that the recent trend for college to NBA coaches is failure, but as mulletman said, guys like Popovich and Brown have had great success in the NBA (@ least at times). I hope everyone hasn't written donovan off already. He may surpirse us.

posted by brainofdtrain at 10:03 AM on June 01

I take this back...

posted by gradys_kitchen at 10:22 AM on June 01

I Have a question that is related for the SPORFI crowd that has been all over the news. ?? Should top prospects who commited to FL or other Division I schools be able to rip up letters of intent when a big name coach leaves a university?? I am not trying to hijack the thread just wanted some thoughts and figured this hip sports crowd could share their wisdom. ((plus i really couldn't find an article about it to post))

posted by Debo270 at 12:29 PM on June 01

At first I thought players should be able to get out of committments when a coach decides to split after recruiting them. But then I got to thinking how many of the "top" prospects wind up leaving after a year or two anyhow, so I guess it's a two-way street. If you sign to attend a school, you either play for them or sit out a year.

posted by dyams at 12:48 PM on June 01

Why should you break your back and bring in a kid who in 2 years is going to be making double your salary.. it is only fair that he takes the success of his past 2 years and go make a buck.

posted by warstda at 01:10 PM on June 01

It wouldn't have been a hijack, Debo, if you made it relevant to this story. There are relevant recruits, the most famous is Jai Lucas. He's not sure what he is going to do. Schools have the option of releasing these kids from their letters of intent. I think the students should have the option to switch schools without penalty. Coaches vary widely. A kid by the time he is in high school knows what kind of coach is best for him. To get stuck playing for four or five years with the wrong coach can ruin your college career and stunt your development as a player.

posted by bperk at 01:12 PM on June 01

At first I thought players should be able to get out of committments when a coach decides to split after recruiting them. But then I got to thinking how many of the "top" prospects wind up leaving after a year or two anyhow, so I guess it's a two-way street. If you sign to attend a school, you either play for them or sit out a year. The vast majority of college players don't fit this profile. It makes no sense to base a rule on a few exceptional students a year when so many others are affected.

posted by bperk at 01:14 PM on June 01

That is a lot of money, but he has to put up with being in the middle. Middle as in the front office doing what they want, and middle as in dealing with player ego's. Takes a lot of money to pay for the clinical office visits! Good luck Billy, and I mean that in a good way.

posted by robi8259 at 01:17 PM on June 01

The vast majority of college players don't fit this profile. Debos comment had to do with "top prospects." Although I realize you can't pick and choose who can and can't get out of agreements with their chosen schools, many of the "top" prospects do take off early for the NBA. They're also the players most schools bring in wanting to showcase. If any of these kids pay attention to what's going on in college basketball (or have any friends or relatives, etc. who follow the game) they could probably assume if a coach like Donovan wins a second-straight championship he's going to be lured by some substantial offers. I don't care what he (Donovan) says. Go in with your eyes wide open and if you plan on changing plans, plan on sitting out.

posted by dyams at 01:42 PM on June 01

You are right, dyams, about what debo's question was. It doesn't make sense because there could never be an NCAA rule that is just for top prospects. However, I stick with the same rule. No sense in punishing students for the coaching carousel over which they have absolutely no control. Jai Lucas did exactly the right thing by waiting until most of the coaching changes had taken place, but it didn't matter because Donovan left after the LOI deadline.

posted by bperk at 01:51 PM on June 01

I hope Billy Donovan does well in the N.B.A. but history says he won't. The only thing I hope is that any kids who signed letters of intent to go to Florida, thinking that he would be there, should have the right to opt out now.

posted by muggsy at 01:56 PM on June 01

i really ment any prospect going Division I the word top just kinda made its way in there

posted by Debo270 at 01:58 PM on June 01

muggsy, read any of the comments??

posted by Debo270 at 01:58 PM on June 01

Debo, that's a great question. I'm caught in the middle with this subject myself, so I'm no help to you at all. It can go either way and IMO, it would be the right decision.

posted by BornIcon at 02:23 PM on June 01

That was an intense mullet. It was so bad, the second i saw him, i couldn't help but laught out loud for a bit. Looking at the guy's features, I believe he is Native American and the hair might be a cultural thing. As to Donovan, I predict he will take the road of most college coaches who make the jump to pros and flame in 2-4 years.

posted by FonGu at 06:54 AM on June 02

Donovan was a backup point guard when Pitino coached the Knicks and got them from the cellar to the playoffs. Having a good GM was probably the difference with Pitino's pro image destroying stint in Boston and an educational experience for Billy D.

posted by billsaysthis at 06:56 PM on June 02

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