Donovan Nearly Free From Magic Deal

Billy Donovan and the Orlando Magic are getting closer to finalizing their divorce.

An agreement in principle has been reached that would get Donovan out of his deal with the Magic, and negotiations could conclude as soon as Wednesday, sources have told ESPN's Kelly Naqi.

Multiple sources told's Andy Katz that Donovan and the Magic have agreed upon a non-compete clause, requiring Donovan to refrain from coaching in the NBA for five years as one of the terms of his release from the contract. The clause would allay any of Orlando's concerns that Donovan could accept another NBA job in the near future. But sources said Donovan also wanted the clause in the contract to assure recruits that he wouldn't be leaving the University of Florida.

Naqi cites a Magic team source saying Donovan obtained legal representation at 6 p.m. Monday to work on the complexities of the contract with Orlando's attorneys.

The source also said Donovan has called high-ranking team officials several times apologizing for his change of heart. According to the source, Donovan said, "I'm so sorry this happened. I meant no harm. My heart is in Florida."

After signing a contract with the Magic on Friday, Donovan, who is fresh off leading the Florida Gators to back-to-back national titles, decided he wants out of Orlando.

Donovan had been waiting Monday afternoon to hear from Magic owner Rich DeVos to find out what Orlando would do with him. Early in the talks the choices appeared to be simple: Either the two parties would agree to rescind his deal or the Magic could pressure him into honoring the contract and/or seek damages. It looks like neither side wants to continue the relationship.

Donovan has been at his home in Gainesville, Fla., since Monday and wasn't expected to speak on the matter until there is closure. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley has indicated he won't comment either until there is a resolution.

Sources told Katz that Donovan called Foley on Saturday morning and said he was really struggling with the decision to leave, and he wanted to come back.

The prevailing mood among sources close to the situation has been that Donovan would remain the head coach at Florida, the recruits and staff would stay intact, and the Magic would then hope to hire former Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy, the leading candidate to replace Donovan. Representatives of Spurs assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo have been contacted, and Pistons assistant Terry Porter also is considered a candidate.

As long as Donovan is still under contract with the Magic, Florida will back off and let the process unfold. The search for a new Florida coach obviously has been put on hold. Sources said that Florida expected the contract negotiations with Donovan and the Magic to last a few days.

Van Gundy returned to Florida on Monday after interviewing Sunday in Las Vegas for the vacant Sacramento Kings job. Sources said the Magic are trying to get Van Gundy before the Kings make him an offer.

Donovan, according to sources, just hopes to reach a resolution soon so he can resume his coaching duties for the Gators. spoke at length Monday with those close to the situation, who said Donovan sounded much more at ease with his decision to return to Florida than he ever did in his decision to join the Magic.

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