Dean's Blog: Ranking Potential Candidates for the Thunder - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Dean's Blog: Ranking Potential Candidates for the Thunder

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

As of Friday night at closing time, here's how I rank the candidates to replace Thunder coach Scott Brooks:

1. Billy Donovan, Florida

2. Fred Hoiberg (despite out 4-to-6 weeks following heart surgery), Iowa State

3. Ettore Messina, lead assistant for Spurs

4. Tyron Lue, Cleveland assistant

5. Mike Malone, former Sacramento head coach

6. Alvin Gentry, former Suns head coach and current Golden State assistant

7. Bill Self, Kansas (wishful thinking and potential HR hire)

While I wouldn't put the odds at above 50 percent on Donovan, all my sources and indicating factors lead me to list him number one. If an announcement is made soon, I'd expect it to be Donovan. If it's extended, I've been led to believe the others listed become more likely.

Some believe Kevin Ollie of UConn is still a viable candidate, but I don't see it. Announcing twice you plan to remain at your school is enough for me. Especially for a guy who loves the school, has lived in the area forever, and by all accounts is of impeccable character.

I don't see why Bill Self would not be considered for the job as much as others on the list. While he's much more engaging than the organization might prefer, his charm could easily work to the Thunder's advantage in reaching its No. 1 goal: re-signing Kevin Durant. Bill tells me he's had a good relationship with KD and if Self were successful in year one –which I'd expect, that charm could help sway KD to put his John Hancock on a contract, making it Christmas for the next 365 days.

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