Billy Donovan and the Magic entered talks on Monday to terminate the contract that he signed on Friday, but the NBA might have a say in resolving the matter as well, ESPN.com has learned.
Multiple sources said that Donovan is being asked to refrain from coaching in the NBA for five years as one of the terms of his release from his Magic contract. Especially in light of this newest wrinkle, negotiations were expected to continue into Tuesday.
ESPN's Kelly 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 attorneys.
The source also said that Donovan has called high-ranking team officials several times apologizing for the 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. With talks ongoing, the choices appear to be simple: Either the two parties will agree to rescind his deal or the Magic could pressure him into honoring the contract and/or seek damages.
Donovan was at his home in Gainesville, Fla., on Monday and isn't expected to speak on the matter until there is closure. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, who was in a board of regents meeting earlier in the day on contractual issues not related to Donovan, isn't going to comment, either, until there is a resolution.
Meanwhile, sources told ESPN.com that Donovan called Foley on Saturday morning and said he was really struggling with the decision to leave. It was not until Saturday morning that Donovan told Foley that he wanted to come back.
The prevailing mood among sources close to the situation is that Donovan will remain the head coach at Florida, the recruits and staff will stay intact, and the Magic will then hope to land former Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy. He has been contacted about their opening as well as Spurs assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
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 expects the contract negotiations with Donovan and the Magic to last a few days.
According to sources, the Magic are now pursuing former Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy, who 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, hopes to reach a resolution soon so he can resume his coaching duties at the University of Florida.
ESPN.com spoke at length Monday with those close to the situation, who said Donovan sounds much more at ease with his decision to return to Florida than he ever did in his decision to join the Magic.
Sources said the Magic pressured Donovan to make a decision last Wednesday and Thursday, and Donovan, who admittedly had gone back and forth on the idea, finally agreed to take the job.