The Oklahoma City Thunder have promoted assistant Mark Daigneault to become the franchise’s next head coach, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.
Daigneault, 35, spent this past season on Billy Donovan’s staff.
He becomes the fourth head coach in Thunder history after originally joining the organization as head coach of the Thunder’s G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue for five seasons (2014-2019) where he led the team to a 143-107 record, three consecutive division titles and four playoff appearances.
“The opportunity to be the head coach of the Thunder is truly a special honor,” Daigneault said in a statement released by the team. “Over my six years in Oklahoma City I’ve developed a deep commitment to the organization and a care for what is truly a special community that I call home. From my first day here, my values have always been aligned with those of the organization, and I’m looking forward to helping them continue to be lived out on and off the court.”
There are indications that the Thunder will be moving toward a rebuild in the next couple years, focused around key young players including Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Darius Bazley and Luguentz Dort.
The team also has 15 first round draft picks between the 2020 draft and 2026 draft.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti is enthusiastic about Daingeault’s track record within the organization, “including connecting with players, teaching the game and making the kind of short- and longer-term adjustments that are crucial for a franchise that is transitioning out of playoff contention and toward a younger, developmental roster,” notes Wojnarowski.
“The amount of head coaching experience and diverse experiences through his tenure with the Blue is rare for someone his age,” Presti said in his statement. “He has also shown the ability to empower both the players and staff he works with, and we are confident that he will help us continue to modernize our approach as an organization in a constantly evolving industry.”
It was reported last week that Daigneault was one of three head coaching candidates for the Thunder job.