Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Sources: Kevin Ollie Withdraws As Candidate for OKC Thunder Job
UConn coach Kevin Ollie has removed himself from consideration for the Oklahoma City Thunder coaching job, multiple sources told SNY.tv on Thursday.
“He is calling [Thunder GM] Sam Presti and pulling his name out due to very personal reasons,” one source said.
“[Oklahoma City] made it clear that they really did want him but there were a variety of reasons as to why he decided not to do it,” a second source said.
Sources previously told SNY.tv that Ollie, a former Thunder player, was “listening” to what Presti had to say and that he was “their No. 1 target” in part because of his strong relationship with stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Durant will become a free agent in 2016, and Ollie was seen as a critical piece both in keeping Durant with the franchise and in balancing the Durant/Westbrook dynamic.
Meantime, Bovada has installed Florida coach Billy Donovan as an 11/10 favorite to be the next Thunder coach. Ollie was listed at 9/4.
“As I have said many times, I am proud and honored to be the head basketball coach at the University of Connecticut and I have no plans to pursue other opportunities,” Ollie said on Wednesday in response to SNY.tv’s initial story saying the Thunder were “seriously considering” him.
“We are already excited about next season and I am looking forward to preparing our team to be the best we can be on the court, in the classroom, and in our community.”
Ollie last year signed a five-year, $15-million contract with UConn.
Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com first reported that Ollie had withdrawn from consideration.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.