Magic introduce new general manager Rob Hennigan
Without a coach and facing a future that may not include
five-time All-Star center Dwight Howard, the Orlando Magic are at
something of a crossroads.
Now at least they have someone in charge.
The Magic introduced their new general manager Thursday,
assigning 30-year-old Rob Hennigan with the task of reversing the
fortunes of an NBA franchise that has been slipping since reaching
the NBA Finals three years ago.
”There’s no question there’s pressure,” said Hennigan. ”This
is a pressure business and you’ve got to earn your keep, and
nobody’s going to try to do any favors for you. We’re just going to
keep our heads down and keep our sleeves rolled up and get to
Hennigan was an assistant general manager for the last two of
his four years in Oklahoma City after entering the NBA in the front
office of the San Antonio Spurs in 2004. Those cities proved to be
the right places, and at the right times, for Hennigan, who is the
league’s youngest general manager.
”His experience, and what he’s done in the organizations that
he’s been with, far exceed his years, and clearly that’s what’s
important,” said Alex Martins, the Magic’s chief executive
officer. ”Age is not a factor; experience and who you’ve worked
with and the habits that you’ve developed, that’s what’s important
in being successful in this role.”
Hennigan replaces Otis Smith, who was fired May 21 along with
coach Stan Van Gundy.
The Magic won 52 or more games in four straight seasons under
Smith and Van Gundy, and reached the finals in 2009. They went
37-29 this season and lost in the first round of the playoffs for
the second straight year. The season was marked by Howard’s request
to be traded and his occasional expressions of dissatisfaction with
Van Gundy and Smith.
Entering the final year of his contract, Howard has not
withdrawn his trade request.
”Personally I look forward to sitting down with Dwight and
sharing with him the vision and the direction we’re going to go,”
Hennigan said, ”and I look forward to listening to what his
thought process is and where his head’s at. At the end of the day,
we’ll take it from there.”
As for hiring a new coach, Hennigan said ”we’re going to be
starting that process immediately.” He will look for a head coach
to ”embrace player development” and take a long-term
”Simply put,” Hennigan said, ”our goal is to build an elite
basketball operation, both on the court and off the court.