Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Could Billy D Pull A Disappearing Act On The Gators?

The newest Billy Donovan-to-the-NBA rumor involves the newly head coach less Orlando Magic. It's a rumor that, at first glance, seems plausible due to Orlando's proximity to Gainesville and Donovan's success at the college level in Florida, but not extremely likely.

It's unlikely that Orlando would grant Donovan anything near "full control", and GM Otis Smith hasn't seemed that intent on getting Donovan since the rumors first started. However, there are a few intriguing thoughts that make the Donovan to Orlando move seem possible.

First, he still hasn't signed any type of new contract, extension, etc. It's been almost two months since Florida won their second straight national championship, and UF hasn't been able to get Donovan locked up in a long term deal. Each side is talking about it, but there's still no ink on a contract.

Second, like I mentioned in my post about Vince Carter possibly heading to Orlando, the Magic need to energize the fan base in order to rally support for a new arena. Right now, their part of the three piece project seems to be the most unpopular. Adding Billy Donovan and possibly Vince Carter would immediately draw in fans.

Third, the NBA predraft camp is happening right now in Orlando. If the Magic are going to make a push, then this is their best chance. Donovan's two time championship point guard is playing in the camp, and Noah, Horford and Brewer will be attending for the physical portion.

Fourth, while Noah, Horford and Brewer will most likely be off the board when the Magic pick at #44, Green probably will still be available. He isn't the top point guard prospect in the draft, but Donovan knows how to use him better than anyone. Although, Orlando does seem sort of set at the PG position. However, adding Green to a line-up of Dwight Howard and possibly Vince Carter would inject some optimism, and help with the solution to point #2.

Obviously, Donovan heading to Orlando is a long shot. There are more than a few examples of successful college coaches that couldn't duplicate anything near their college success at the pro level. And, Donovan is poised to become the king of men's basketball in Gainesville for years to come. Some might believe that trying to maintain a successful basketball program at an historically football rabid school would be difficult, but I think it's actually easier because the football program can help "absorb" any negativity in down years.

It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks as Florida AD Jeremy Foley focuses on getting Donovan signed. What seemed like a one-time thing with Kentucky calling has snowballed into other rumors that has some Gators thinking Donovan really might not be back next year. Though, those back-to-back national championship trophies would help ease the pain of losing "Billy The Kid" for this Gator.

No comments: