Yesterday, reports surfaced that the Cleveland Cavaliers had asked to speak to Florida head coach Billy Donovan about the opening head coaching job in Clevealnd. Today, we learned that was not the case. Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Cleveland Plain Dealer spoke to Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley on Friday and he shot down the rumors. From the article:
The Cavaliers have not asked permission to speak to University of Florida basketball coachBilly Donovan, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley told The Plain Dealer on Friday.
ESPN.com reported on Thursday that the Cavs were one of several NBA teams to reach out to Donovan about their head coaching position, and an NBA source told The Plain Dealer late Thursday night he believed the Cavs were “chasing Donovan first” before pursuing other coaching candidates.
The Cavs have not commented on the ESPN report, and Donovan’s agents did not respond to an email seeking comment on Friday. But Foley did respond to an email asking if the Cavs had asked for permission to speak to Donovan by replying, “They have not.”
Donovan’s contract with Florida is very specific that prior written permission must be obtained before Donovan is allowed to discuss any possible job change. Section 8, paragraph C of his contract states, “Unless notice has been given by either party of termination pursuant to subparagraph 13A, Coach shall not directly or indirectly (including, without limitation, through agents for either party) under any circumstances explore, discuss or negotiate for his perspective employment with any other institution of higher learning, including any affiliated organization thereof, or professional athletic team without the EXPRESS PRIOR WRITTEN PERMISSION of the athletic director, which shall not be unreasonably withheld. It is particularly understood that on-going rumors or media reports of such negotiations are damaging to team morale and recruiting, and that therefore the parties expressly agree that time is of the essence as to the provisions of this sub-paragraph, and that the same are a material consideration of this Agreement.”
For now, it looks like Donovan isn’t a legit candidate. Still, considering how little we truly know, it’s possible that Donovan may still be in the running.