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Amid the Kentucky speculation, Donovan says he's happy with the Bulls

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Despite speculation that he could become Kentucky's new men's basketball coach, the Bulls' Billy Donovan said Tuesday he is happy with the Bulls.
Associated Press

During his pregame availability on Tuesday, Bulls coach Billy Donovan said he had not heard from anyone about the coaching vacancy at the University of Kentucky and that his focus was on the Bulls.

Donovan's name has been mentioned as a top target for Kentucky with coach John Calipari reportedly heading to Arkansas. He began his coaching career as a Kentucky assistant under Rick Pitino from 1989 to 1994. Donovan later served as head coach at Florida for 19 years before moving to the NBA in 2015.

“As with all of my stops, you have very fond memories,” Donovan said. “I haven’t been contacted by anyone, I haven’t spoken to anyone. My entire commitment and focus is on this team and this group.”

Donovan said he got a similar question from Arturas Karnisovas, although it appears anyone from Kentucky would have to ask the Bulls' basketball operations director for permission first since Donovan is under contract.

What would Donovan say if contacted in the next few days?

“I would say the same thing,” he said. “'I'm committed to being here in this group and trying to help these guys as best we can to finish this year and try to get home in the play-in and advance.

“I'm happy here at this level, but I also understand that in this job sometimes things don't work out at a certain point or something changes. I know I enjoy coaching and I know I enjoy coaching in the NBA.”

Donovan didn't rule out a return to college. He said he actually enjoyed recruiting and that paying players through NIL is long overdue, but he doesn't like the transfer-heavy environment where players don't give themselves a chance to fight through difficult circumstances.

The Bulls played their final home game of the regular season against the New York Knicks on Tuesday at the United Center. They still have three away games left.

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