The NBA rumor mill is churning in Oklahoma City after the search for the next Thunder coach took a turn when Kevin Ollie suddenly and mysteriously took himself out of consideration.
The UConn coach was seen as a frontrunner for the Thunder job vacated when the team fired Scott Brooks on Wednesday. Brooks was reportedly on the hot seat as the season went on and was fired after the team missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Though the 42-year-old Ollie had said he wouldn’t seek out the Thunder job, insiders said he was very interested and at the top of the Thunder’s list as well.
Despite public statement, UConn’s Kevin Ollie has significant interest in OKC coaching job, sources tell Yahoo. He’s a top choice for Presti
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) April 22, 2015
But that changed suddenly on Thursday. New NBA rumors suggest that Kevin Ollie has backed out of consideration, committing to his job at UConn.
UConn’s Kevin Ollie has removed himself from consideration for the OKC head coaching position, sources told @CBSSports. Story coming.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 23, 2015
Ollie himself seemed to address these rumors on Thursday, posting on Instagram a picture of a Bible with the caption, “Everybody has their sources but this is the only Source I need.. #FamilyFirstAlways #UConnLuv”
The UConn coach was seen as a rising star in the college ranks. In just three seasons, he has racked up 72 wins, and led the No. 7 seed UConn to a national title in 2014.
Kevin Ollie spent 13 season in the NBA, the last of which came as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. There were rumors at the time that Ollie was headed for an NBA coaching job, with teammates praising his leadership.
Forward Kevin Durant even said that Ollie was a transformative force in the locker room.
“Kevin Ollie changed the culture with the Thunder, just like he’s doing now with UConn. He was a big part of what we do, and he still is, because of what he instilled in us. He’s always going to be a brother of mine,” Durant told the Hartford Courant in 2013.
But Ollie is also set in his position at UConn. In May of 2014, after taking home the national title, he signed a new contract for five years and $15 million.
With Kevin Ollie backing out of consideration, there are new NBA rumors regarding the Oklahoma City Thunder coaching job. Florida coach Billy Donovan is also rumored to be a top candidate.
[Image via Getty Images/ Jared Wickerham]