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Billy Donovan happy at Florida but NBA is 'intriguing in a lot of ways'

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

Latest in hoops: NBA Early Entries | Latest News | Coaching Changes

With five NBA gigs -- Lakers, Knicks, Jazz, Cavs, T'wolves -- still open as of now, plenty are wondering if Billy Donovan will seriously consider a jump, should he be offered a chance to coach pros.

Donovan's already gone on record -- as if he needs to -- that he's happy at Florida, and he reiterated that on Tuesday.

Still, many teams have reportedly gauged his interest.

And the speculation will continue in wake of Donovan's transparent comments at the ongoing SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla. Donovan's taken the lead and example set by guys like Tom Izzo and John Calipari. In the long run, you're better off not setting yourself up for hypocrisy: so always keep the possibility of leaving out there.

Stay ahead of the fingerwaggers.

Per the Associated Press, on Tuesday Donovan said, "I think when you start making guarantees about life and start making guarantees about where you're going to be, that's not good because if for some reason I ever change my mind and did something, I wouldn't want (people) saying, 'Well, he promised, he guaranteed, he said this on record.' I just think when you start doing that, that's a mistake."

Donovan's made four Final Fours and won two national titles with the Gators. (USATSI)

Certainly. Donovan's coached in college for two decades now. He just completed a four-year run wherein he made a Final Four after reaching three straight Elite Eights. The Gators are set up to be good again next year, but you could see how this is an opportune time for him to take a chance in his career (and earn even more money). Donovan turns 49 on Friday.

Remember, he briefly left Florida for the Orlando Magic in 2007, only to double back and stay with the Gators less than a week later. Provisions in his contract made it near-impossible for him to flirt with the NBA after that; those provisions/that contract were wiped clean when Donovan signed an extension of three years to his deal this past winter.

"All I can say is I love Florida, I'm happy here ... the school's been great to me," Donovan said, per the AP. "But at the same point, some of the NBA stuff, as I've said before, is intriguing in a lot of ways -- the basketball part of it. That's not to say that I'm unhappy here; that's not the case at all."

Donovan's in the prime of his career with myriad options. He's taking the modern approach to handling this publicly: by being as honest as he can. Until all the NBA jobs are filled, Florida fans will keep their hands clasped.

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