The Bulls‘ previous coach, Jim Boylen, was one of the NBA’s lowest-paid head coaches, having reportedly been set to earn just $1.6MM in 2020/21. However, Chicago has made a substantially larger investment in its new head coach, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Billy Donovan received a four-year contract worth $24MM+ from the Bulls.
Donovan’s new deal doesn’t quite put him in the top tier of earners among NBA head coaches — Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich reportedly earn $10MM+ annually. However, it’s a significant investment, especially from a franchise that hasn’t made a habit of committing big money to coaches or executives.
Donovan’s five-year contract with the Thunder, which expired this summer, was said to be worth approximately $30MM, so his per-year salary will be about the same in Chicago.
Formally introducing Donovan to the media today, Bulls executive VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas referred to the former OKC coach as a “great communicator” who has a “team-first mentality,” per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). Karnisovas told reporters, including Johnson (Twitter link), that he “could not stop smiling” after agreeing to a deal with Donovan.
For his part, Donovan praised Karnisovas for doing “a tremendous amount of homework on me,” referring to his new boss as having been “very proactive” in recruiting him to Chicago (Twitter link via Johnson).
The Bulls are currently conducting an offseason mini-camp in a bubble environment in Chicago, but Donovan won’t join the team within that bubble due to safety concerns and a lengthy quarantine process. Still, he has begun reaching out to his new players, tweets Johnson.