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Thunder to hire Billy Donovan as coach, according to reports

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One of the league's three coaching vacancies is about to be filled.

Billy Donovan
Billy Donovan
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder are ready to hire Billy Donovan of the Florida Gators as their next head coach, replacing the dismissed Scott Brooks, reports ESPN veteran Marc Stein. OKC is expected to make an official announcement Thursday or Friday, according to Stein.

This news certainly affects the Orlando Magic's coaching search in two ways. Most obviously, it removes Donovan as a candidate; in early April, reports circulated that Orlando brass would be interested in hiring Donovan to replace James Borrego, who coached the club to a 10-20 finish to the 2014/15 campaign after it fired Jacque Vaughn.

The Thunder's expected hiring of Donovan also reduces the number of available NBA coaching gigs to two, at present. The Magic and Denver Nuggets will become the only two teams without a coach in place for the 2015/16 season. With so few jobs available, Orlando and Denver figure to be able to draw from a wider pool of potential coaches.

More jobs may open up before the offseason begins in earnest, with the Chicago Bulls' the most likely one, should they part ways with Tom Thibodeau, as widely expected. But for now, the Magic can feel comfortable knowing they'll have plenty of candidates from which to choose once they get their search underway.

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