NBA rumors: Billy Donovan to Kentucky, Trae Young almost back, Hornets to interview Lindsey Harding head coach

  • Billy Donovan to Kentucky?
  • Trae Young nearing return for Atlanta Hawks
  • Charlotte Hornets granted permission to interview Lindsey Harding
Atlanta Hawks v Chicago Bulls
Atlanta Hawks v Chicago Bulls / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

NBA rumors: Hornets to interview Kings G League coach Lindsey Harding

As the Charlotte Hornets begin their search for their next head coach following Steve Clifford's decision to step down after the season to move into a front-office role, they have received permission to interview Sacramento Kings G League coach Lindsey Harding, per ESPN's Senior NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.

Harding, 39, thrived in her first year at the helm as the coach of the Stockton Kings, earning 2024 G League Coach of the Year honors en route to leading her team to a 24-10 regular-season record and a trip to the Western Conference finals.

While her head coaching experience may be limited, Harding had previous stops along the way, including working as a scout and player development coach for the Philadelphia 76ers and being an assistant for the Kings for four seasons before her G League stint. Moreover, she is a former college basketball standout and the No. 1 overall pick of the 2007 WNBA draft.

Becky Hammon became the first woman to be an NBA head coach during a game when Gregg Popovich got ejected in a meeting versus the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 30, 2020, paving the way for women like Harding to follow in her footsteps.

NBA rumors: Trae Young almost back

After tearing a ligament in his left fifth finger on Feb. 23 against the Toronto Raptors and undergoing surgery four days later, many thought All-Star point guard Trae Young may have played his final games for the Atlanta Hawks. However, it appears that the floor general is coming along nicely in his recovery process, putting him in a position to return to the team.

Young has the green light to "resume contact and practice" for the first time in six weeks, ESPN's Senior NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday. 

With the Hawks sitting at 36-42 and currently holding the final Eastern Conference play-in spot in 10th place, the pending return of Young is a massive development for Atlanta, but the team has gone 12-10 since his injury.

Will Young return before the end of the regular season? The Hawks are hoping for that so he can shake some of the rust off from an extensive absence ahead of the NBA Play-In Tournament.

Young averages 26.4 points per contest while shooting 37.1 percent from beyond the arc, tallying career-bests in assists (10.8) and steals (1.4) in 51 games played this season.

NBA rumors: Billy Donovan to Kentucky

Many are wondering who will be the heir to the throne of John Calipari following the departure of the longtime Kentucky men's basketball head coach, who signed a five-year contract to assume the same position at the University of Arkansas.

Cameron Salerno of CBS Sports suggests that the Wildcats will have their choice of quality replacement candidates, naming some of the most high-profile coaches in the nation, including one shocking option from the NBA – Billy Donovan of the Chicago Bulls.

Donovan has been an NBA head coach for nine seasons since leaving the University of Florida in 2015 to join the Oklahoma City Thunder and has been with the Bulls for the past four years. Before that, he was one of the most successful coaches on the collegiate level, leading the Gators to back-to-back NCAA Tournament titles in 2006-07. 

The Bulls have been one of the more disappointing NBA franchises in recent years and appear to be at a "crossroads between rebuilding and competing," Salerno notes, highlighting that Chicago is pacing to miss the playoffs for the third in four seasons during Donovan's tenure. Could that be enough for him to explore other options, especially one as enticing as Kentucky?

Moreover, Salerno points out that Donovan began his coaching career as an assistant at Kentucky in 1989 and spent five seasons with the illustrious program, paving the way for a full-circle reunion.