The Orlando Magic have their man to lead them into whatever comes next.
The team announced late Wednesday that Oklahoma City assistant general manager Rob Hennigan will be the team’s general manager. The exhaustive search comes at just the right time as the team has a week to prepare for the Draft and begin figuring out what happens next.
“It is with great enthusiasm and optimism that we announce Rob Hennigan as our new General Manager,” Magic CEO Alex Martins said. “Rob is an astute strategist and evaluator of talent who comes to the Magic family from two championship-level organizations. We feel he is an outstanding fit and the right choice to lead our Basketball Operations team in achieving our championship goals.”
Hennigan is 30 years old and has had a meteoric rise through the Thunder and Spurs front office. He has spent the last four years in Oklahoma City after getting brought to San Antonio in 2004 with Sam Presti. Hennigan was a three-time conference player of the year at Emerson College.
He was a big part of building the Western Conference finalist Thunder this year. It is just surprising to see someone so young and so new to the NBA scene getting this big job. Orlando is going to be quite the challenge.
Hennigan will have to hit the ground running.
The first will be finding a new coach. The next will be figuring out if Dwight Howard will give him a chance and sign anything that looks like a long-term deal. Otherwise, it seems the Magic will finally be determined to trade him and move on rather than play the continuing waiting game. This whole rebuilding project falls on Hennigan to complete.
He does not have a lot of assets to work with either outside of Howard either. This is quite a challenge for your first job as “the boss” for a team.
If anyone can do it, it is someone schooled in the small market methods of San Antonio and Oklahoma City. Orlando has had a nice run of success but has never been able to sustain it past two or three years — the three year run from 2008 until 2010 mark three of the five times the Magic have been out of the first round of the Playoffs in a 23-year history.
It seems Magic ownership has done a 180 from Otis Smith’s last year. It feels like the organization will trust Hennigan to do what is necessary — even trading Dwight Howard — to rebuild the team and get them back into title contention. It is going to be a long road.
But Hennigan can bring some fresh ideas and an outside perspective. Not to mention the lessons he learned in San Antonio and in Oklahoma City with Sam Presti.
For at least one day, Orlando has some optimism and fresh air to breathe in. Now comes the dirty work.