The coaching staff of the Oklahoma City Thunder is going to look a bit different this upcoming season.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Thunder assistant coach Maurice Cheeks is leaving Oklahoma City to join the Bulls and their new head coach Billy Donovan.
Oklahoma City assistant Maurice Cheeks is joining Billy Donovan’s staff as an assistant coach with the Chicago Bulls, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 2, 2020
This news marks the end of Cheeks’ second stint with the Thunder after returning to their bench in 2015.
Cheeks’ first stint with the Thunder lasted from 2009 to 2013, which ended because the Pistons announced him as their new head coach.
During Cheeks’ lone season in Detroit, his team went 21-29 in the 50 games he was the head coach.
Cheeks would return to the Thunder’s bench in 2015 under Billy Donovan, where the two would spend the next five years growing a relationship.
Cheeks are known for being the point guard whisperer of the Thunder. Cheeks are notorious for taking Russell Westbrook under his wing and helping him develop into the future Hall-of-Famer he has become.
It is safe to assume that Cheeks will hold similar responsibilities with the Bulls, where he will likely help develop young guards like Coby White.
This news should not be that big of a surprise. In professional sports, head coaches love to surround themselves and hire people they like and respect. Donovan wants to bring his guys to Chicago, and Cheeks are one of those guys.
The Thunder is the lone team in the NBA without a head coach, but that should change soon with the draft being a little over two weeks away.