Arturas Karnisovas, the Bulls’ executive vice president of basketball operations, aggressively pursued Donovan after the coach left the Oklahoma City Thunder, sources said, selling Donovan on a partnership and vision for a talented young roster and chance to lead one of the league’s anchor franchises.
Donovan’s representative, Oliver Winterbone of Wasserman Media Group, finalized the deal with Chicago officials on Tuesday, sources said.
Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley believed Donovan was the best coach available, and his track record in Oklahoma City — including five straight trips to the playoffs in the Western Conference — made him a good fit for the Bulls.
Donovan, 55, was the National Basketball Coaches Association’s co-Coach of the Year with Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer for 2019-2020. The NBA’s coaches vote on the award.
Karnisovas dismissed former coach Jim Boylen in May and talked with a number of candidates before extending the offer to Donovan.
In his first season with Oklahoma City, Donovan advanced to the West finals with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and he reached the playoffs in each of the next four years. Donovan was 243-157 (.608) as Thunder coach. He signed a five-year deal with the Thunder upon arriving from the University of Florida, where he won two national championships.