OKC Thunder promote Mark Daigneault as next head coach

The OKC Thunder have decided on their next head coach as Mark Daigneault assumes the lead chair

The OKC Thunder has finally announced their next head coach and the hire comes from inside the franchise. Associate coach Mark Daigneault gets the nod as the franchise promotes him into the lead chair. Ironically, the first candidate T.I. considered was Daigneault and this was in a group of 30 we considered.

As executive vice president and general manager Sam Presti is wont to do — he took his time and selected someone who he has confidence in.

Recent reports suggested Will Weaver would be the next head coach since he was quarantining here and not with his NBL team in Australia. This might mean he will assume one of the lead assistant roles on Daigneault’s staff.

Mark Daigneault next OKC Thunder head coach:

Presti elected to hire someone with who the franchise has a strong working relationship and who is extremely familiar with the Thunder culture and systems.

The ties to Billy Donovan

are relevant as Sam Presti initially hired Daigneault from the Florida Gators where he was working as an assistant for Donovan.

In his six-year tenure with the OKC Thunder Daigneault spent five with the G-League affiliate OKC Blue. That experience no doubt factored into this promotion as the team transitions into a more youthful base and rebuilding phase.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news regarding the fourth coach in the OKC Thunder 12-year franchise history.

Daigneault’s elevation to replace the departed Billy Donovan completes a rapid six-year rise within the franchise, which included a five-year run as the OKC Blue’s G-League coach, where Daigneault had a .572 winning percentage and three division titles.

Aside from the trio fo Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Darius Bazley, and Luguentz Dort, there will be plenty of young players headed to Oklahoma City in the next seven seasons. That’s because of the haul of draft picks Sam Presti pulled in with the trades of Paul George, Russell Westbrook, and Jerami Grant last offseason. The first of those picks will be conveyed next week from the Nuggets (25th pick). Over the next seven drafts including their own draft picks, Presti could be selecting 15 first-round draft prospects and or swapping four picks.

The 35-year old Daigneault was extremely successful in the G-League and spent this past season as an assistant on Donovan’s staff. That offers an edge for him as he’s familiar with the players from the 2019-20 roster of which several will return. More importantly, he’s well acquainted with the systems the Thunder ran last season.

The expectation is the Thunder will make sweeping moves prior to the December 22nd season start including the likely trade of Chris Paul and potentially Dennis Schroder or Steven Adams. Conversely, Sam Presti won’t make a move for the sake of simply making a move. There is time for the Thunder executive to exercise patience in order to get the assets or trade package that best benefits the Thunder.

With news of the promotion of Daigneault to head coach, he can remove one of the items from his main checklist and refocus the franchise sights on the draft and free agency.