The Orlando Magic are giving strong consideration to a big change in their front office, according to league sources. Sources told ESPN that Magic general manager Rob Hennigan’s job is under threat at season’s end in the wake of a fifth straight non-playoff season since he was hired.
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Hennigan is under contract in Orlando through the 2017-18 season but, according to league sources, finds himself under as much pressure as any executive in the league at present.
Clippers coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers is distancing himself from speculation that he could join the Orlando Magic this summer in a front-office role. “I can tell you I had a past with the Magic,” Rivers said to reporters over the weekend in Los Angeles. “I have no future. My future’s here.”
There has been persistent chatter for weeks over the NBA’s front-office grapevine that the Orlando Magic and Rivers will explore a reunion down the road. Now, you’re certainly not alone if you’re wondering whether down the road in this case should be measured in months or years.
The Magic, meanwhile, appear headed for their own sooner-rather-than-later shakeup. League sources say without hesitation that Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan finds himself on the hot seat and is increasingly likely to be dismissed at season’s end, with the Magic on course for a fifth successive losing season under Hennigan’s watch.
The simpler move for Orlando, of course, would be to hire an on-the-rise executive to take over basketball operations and work with first-year coach Frank Vogel. Ex-Magic forward Pat Garrity, presently in Detroit as part of Stan Van Gundy’s cabinet, has emerged as a potential target to come aboard in precisely those circustances and inherit Vogel, who appeared to be absolved from blame for Orlando’s 25-45 misery this season when Hennigan conceded that the roster was overloaded with big men and traded Serge Ibaka to Toronto just eight months after surrendering Victor Oladipo, No. 11 overall Domantas Sabonis and a first-round pick to bring Ibaka in.
Although the team’s up-tempo style fits the current roster, Vogel has acknowledged he might have to adopt a different approach if, or when, the Magic remake their roster during the offseason. If the Magic fire general manager Rob Hennigan after the season, as many NBA insiders expect, then a roster overhaul could occur.
Bucher: “Hennigan apparently was concerned about both his ability to re-sign Cousins this summer and building the franchise around yet another high maintenence big man.
Alex Kennedy: Orlando may not be done dealing. As I wrote in my first @Jorge Sierra rumor notebook, executives say they are being incredibly active.
Hennigan was very candid recently when I asked him about the barrage of criticism he is facing. He said he fully understands why fans are so upset about a team that now has the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference. “First and foremost, the criticism is warranted,” Hennigan said. “I don’t know if it’s welcome because no one likes to get criticized, but the job we have and the job we’re trying to do is certainly subject to that. Our fans, quite frankly, deserve to be upset and deserve to be frustrated. … I think the proverbial hot seat comes with the territory.”
“We don’t evaluate any of our individuals in midseason,” Martins said when asked by the Orlando Sentinel about Hennigan’s job security. “Traditionally, we do that in a very comprehensive fashion at the end of each season, and this season is no different.”
Hennigan’s seat as general manager couldn’t be any hotter now that the season is going seriously sideways. As the pressure to win increased, he scrapped a rather pedestrian youth movement and brought in promising veterans this summer. The result: After roughly a month of disjointed, disheartening play, the Magic look closer to making a fifth straight lottery appearance than their first playoff appearance since 2011-12. A big build-up has been replaced by a big letdown, leaving fans and season-ticket-holders sad, mad – or worse – indifferent.
If this thing doesn’t turn around – and the odds are long with a dreadful offense that has forced coach Frank Vogel to already make three starting-lineup changes – the Magic will have no choice but to fire Hennigan. They will need a new set of eyes on the job site, yet another blueprint to sell. That’s the way it works in sports – and Hennigan knows it. The Magic could be in the toughest spot imaginable now that Hennigan has played the only two hands you can play in a rebuild. The Magic can’t tank again in hopes of landing that cornerstone star in the lottery (you can’t purposely torture your fan base anymore). And they certainly haven’t been winning enough to be front-runners to attract that cornerstone star via free agency, although this is their best option beyond pulling off a franchise-changing trade.
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March 26, 2017 | 4:34 pm EDT Update
Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace today announced the team has recalled guard Wade Baldwin IV and center Deyonta Davis from the Iowa Energy, the Grizzlies’ NBA Development League affiliate. Baldwin (6-4, 202) has appeared in 33 games (22 starts) for the Energy and averaged 12.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 28.2 minutes. The 20-year-old has played 24 games (one start) for the Grizzlies during his rookie season and averaged 3.4 points, 1.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists. The Belle Mead, N.J. native was drafted by Memphis in the first round (17th overall) of the 2016 NBA Draft following his sophomore season at Vanderbilt University.
CSN California has confirmed that the team is shutting down rookie Malachi Richardson for the remainder of the season. Richardson, 21, suffered a partial tear of the right hamstring on February 15 and was listed as out 4-6 weeks. While the wing has not incurred a setback, he will need the entire six weeks to heal, which places him ready to return to action with just a handful of games remaining in the schedule.
March 26, 2017 | 2:41 pm EDT Update
Mark Berman: Mike D’Antoni says all tests, MRI etc, came back negative on Ryan Anderson sprained ankle. Expected to miss two weeks. Back before reg season ends