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Report: Donovan wants out of Orlando

Report: Donovan wants out of Orlando

Report: Donovan wants out of Orlando
June 3rd, 2007

Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - According to a report, Billy Donovan is trying to get out of his contract with the Orlando Magic and return to the University of Florida.

Fox Sports, citing two sources close to the situation, reported that Donovan has contacted the Magic in an attempt to get out of his contract he signed on Thursday. The site reports that Donovan was forced into a rash decision and would like to return to the Gator program he led to the second of consecutive national titles this past season.

Donovan was introduced as the newest head coach of the Magic on Friday. He signed a reported five-year deal worth $27.5 million.

Speculation grew of Donovan's weariness over the weekend when Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley didn't meet with lead candidate Anthony Grant, the current head coach at VCU.

In Gainesville, Donovan compiled a 261-103 mark over 11 seasons, leading the Gators to the national championship the last two years and a championship game appearance in 2000.

Earlier this offseason, he turned down a lucrative offer to become the head coach at the University of Kentucky, but apparently the opportunity in the NBA was too much for him to pass up -- that was until now.

In 13 years of collegiate coaching, which included two years at Marshall before joining the Gators, Donovan compiled a 296-123 record.

In Orlando, he would replace Brian Hill, who was fired on May 23 after two consecutive losing seasons and a sweep at the hands of the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the playoffs this season.

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Re: Report: Donovan wants out of Orlando

Don't tell he he already can't stand the NBA  big_smile

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Re: Report: Donovan wants out of Orlando

Magic allow Donovan to bail, turn to Stan Van Gundy

It appears Billy Donovan will not end up as the Orlando Magic's coach, opting instead to return to the Florida Gators.

Billy Donovan's NBA coaching career might end up being a whole lot shorter than his pro playing career -- and that didn't last very long.

Donovan is trying to void the five-year, $27.5 million contract he signed last week with the Orlando Magic in hopes of returning to the Florida Gators, a person familiar with the negotiations said Monday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Earlier Monday, the Magic said Donovan was "conflicted" about his decision to leave the two-time NCAA champions. The NBA team also said talks were continuing regarding his contract.

"While Central Florida, the Orlando Magic and Billy were energized with the announcement of his contract signing on Friday, we know there was a different feeling in Gainesville and people have been tugging at him since that time," the Magic said in a statement.

"Billy is conflicted with those emotions and the opportunity he has ahead in Orlando and in the NBA. We've had numerous conversations and a personal visit in Gainesville with Billy over the last 48 hours, and we have a commitment from him that the dialogue between us will continue.", citing two anonymous sources, first reported Sunday that Donovan was having second thoughts about coaching the Magic and approached both sides about getting out of the deal. According to one of the sources, the Magic forced Donovan to make a rash decision.

The Orlando Sentinel reported Monday that Donovan had been released from his contract with the NBA team, and that the Magic had renewed their search to replace Brian Hill.

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said he had been advised to not talk about the situation, a possible indication that Donovan was trying to return to Gainesville.

"On advice of counsel, I cannot comment and will not," Foley said.

Donovan did not return repeated calls for comment.

He led the Gators to consecutive national titles the past two seasons and was slated to sign a seven-year deal worth approximately $3.5 million annually with Florida. The deal was nearly finalized when he agreed to coach the Magic.

Donovan, who played 44 games with the New York Knicks, said last week that he had always been intrigued by the NBA. He said Orlando was the perfect situation because it was an up-and-coming team and close to home.

Donovan, 42, agreed to the deal with Orlando on Thursday, one day after the Magic met with former Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy about the job. Van Gundy, who also interviewed for coaching vacancies in Charlotte, Indiana and Sacramento in recent weeks, might not be available for long; he had a second interview with Sacramento's ownership group in Las Vegas on Saturday.

The Gators contacted Virginia Commonwealth coach Anthony Grant soon after Donovan's decision. Foley had been scheduled to meet with Grant on Saturday in Richmond, Va., but the meeting never took place, and Grant said Sunday that he hadn't been offered the job.

If the Magic lose Donovan, it would be another setback for a franchise beset by them.

Orlando lost dominant center Shaquille O'Neal, who went on to win four NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat. The team signed guard Grant Hill in 2000 to a seven-year, $93 million contract. Hill missed most of his first four seasons because of recurring ankle problems, and has played just 200 regular-season games with Orlando.

And the Magic drafted Spain's Fran Vazquez in the first round in 2005, then Vazquez refused to play in the United States.

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