Griffin, 47, who has been Cleveland’s general manager for more than three seasons, is a front runner to be offered a job as team president by the Orlando Magic at season’s end, according to multiple reports. But sources told cleveland.com that the Magic did not speak to Griffin about the job nor has it obtained permission to do so.
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Magic officials have not spoken with Griffin, the Cavaliers’ general manager, because the Cavaliers have not completed their postseason yet. It would border on professional negligence if Magic CEO Alex Martins and the team’s owners, the DeVos family, already have made up their minds to offer Griffin their top basketball operations position without speaking with him first and, at the minimum, understanding how he would try to improve the Magic’s roster.
The Orlando Magic have serious interest in Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Kevin McHale for their team president position, according to two people with knowledge of the situation. The people spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.
McHale, who served as Minnesota Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations from 1995 to 2008 while also serving as the team’s head coach on two occasions, is known to be on the Timberwolves’ short list as well. The Magic would strongly prefer someone who has previously been a general manager for the president position.
Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin, who does not have a contract beyond this season, is known to be a frontrunner for the team president.
For now, Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin remains the top candidate in the Magic’s search, but Orlando hasn’t yet asked for permission to speak with Griffin, largely because of the Cavaliers’ playoff status, sources said.
The Orlando Magic’s search process for a new top basketball executive could extend until the end of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ playoff run, which would allow Orlando to gauge the interest of general manager David Griffin, league sources told The Vertical. The Magic are researching multiple possible candidates to replace former GM Rob Hennigan, but the possibility of Griffin does intrigue Orlando CEO Alex Martins and top Magic officials, league sources said. Griffin’s contract expires at the end of the season and talks on a new contract with Cavaliers ownership have been stalled for months, league sources said. There’s an increasing belief among league executives that Griffin could be lured away from Cleveland, league sources said.
Out of the postseason following a highly disappointing 29-53 first season with the Magic, Vogel said the failures over the past seven months will drive him throughout what figures to be a busy offseason. “I do believe in balance in life and I do want to get away from it and let it go a little bit, but it’s going to sit with me all summer,’’ Vogel said candidly last week upon the Magic’s season wrapping up. “When I get back to work, I’m going to be very driven to do all of this studying and evaluation of our team to get this thing back going the right direction.’’
The decision to name Lloyd interim GM was announced as a means to give the Magic time to thoroughly explore the available candidates, some of whom are currently running teams in the postseason. The Magic have reached out to a number of candidates and have something of a working short list, according to sources close to the process.
There has been talk of Warriors executive Bob Myers, however, the Warriors and Myers extended his contract last summer, increasing his pay and adding more responsibility to his job function. Sources peg poaching Myers from the Warriors as the longest of long shots but admitted that Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk is on the radar and will likely be interviewed.
There has been talk of something of a Frank Vogel reunion with former Pacer executive David Morway being linked to the Magic. Morway was last with the Milwaukee Bucks before exploring the Sacramento Kings front office. It’s believed Morway was well on his way to being the Kings president before the team shifted course and went with Vlade Divac. Morway is a long-time veteran executive, which suits the Magic’s desire for a top-down leader.
There has been a lot of talk about current Clippers president Doc Rivers making a return to Orlando, where he still maintains his off-season home. However, sources close to that situation said that Rivers addressed the rumors with Clippers owner Steve Ballmer back in March and pledged to stay in his current deal, a deal that pays him north of $11 million per year to skipper the Clippers as coach and team president.
In the wake of firing general manager Rob Hennigan, Magic CEO Alex Martins admitted that former coach Scott Skiles was right about the failed GM and should have stuck around until the team figured out what to do about it. Skiles quit after only one season because he did not like the roster Hennigan had put together or the lackadaisical culture Hennigan and assistant GM Scott Perry had cultivated among its core of young players. “Scott certainly had his concerns; I don’t think that was any secret,” Martins said when I asked if he should have listened to Skiles instead of Hennigan. “He made that very well known. He and I had several conversations about things during his tenure here.”
From talking to people close to the situation and listening to Martin’s public comments, it appears Skiles felt Hennigan and Perry coddled players and undermined the coaching staff’s ability to instill accountability. Skiles is a no-nonsense basketball lifer who didn’t like the work ethic of his young players or the culture created by the inexperienced Hennigan. “The culture is the atmosphere and the expectations you set up around your basketball team,” Martins explained on our Open Mike radio show Friday. “How are those expectations communicated? How are you holding everybody accountable? What is the true message about the level of commitment we expect? … What do we expect from them [players] day in and day out?
The NBA Draft Lottery will be held on May 15 and the NBA Draft is June 22, but Alex Martins said the Magic won’t be rushed into picking a new GM because of the importance of the position. “The factor that is going to dictate (the pace of the search) is that there are some individuals that we’re interested in who (have teams that) are playing in the NBA playoffs and we’re not going to be able to talk to them until their teams are eliminated,’’ Martins said.
“In terms of being prepared for the draft, I have no concerns about that whatsoever because I have a very high amount of confidence in Matt Lloyd and his team to prepare us for the draft,’’ Martins continued. “He’ll have everything lined up and prepared for when we do hire a GM, including if it is him. … Frank (Vogel) will be a big part of that (NBA Draft) preparation as well and he’ll work closely with Matt over the next several weeks in leading the Basketball Operations staff.’’
“I’m not pushing for that (GM job) because I’m a basketball coach,’’ Vogel continued. “It’s a difficult thing to do both because you have to separate your emotions. A lot of times, the coach wants to trade a different player every other game and obviously you can’t do that. I like the coach/GM dynamic of them viewing things from afar, them studying the league differently than I do and them taking an entire year studying the NBA Draft versus a coach finishing the year and trying to cram it all in. There’s an important separation there.’’
Ric Bucher: Sources: Ex-Magic GM Rob Hennigan took the photo of Patricio Garino signing w/whiteboard of FA info in background. Might’ve been last straw.
David Baumann: As I said this AM, Grant Hill told me, “No, I’m not interested. I thoroughly enjoy my ownership role as Vice-Chairman of the Atlanta Hawks. – RT: Marc Stein: Orlando has interest in Grant Hill as its new face of basketball ops, but league sources say Hill has no plans to leave Atlanta ownership.
David Baumann: Exclusive: Just heard from Grant Hill on whether he’d like consideration for any @OrlandoMagic front office vacancy… #Magic. “I’m not sure where that rumor came from, but NO, I’m not interested. I thoroughly enjoy my ownership role as Vice-Chairman of the Atlanta Hawks. Grant Hill That keeps me plenty busy”
“We appreciate Rob’s efforts to rebuild the team, but feel we have not made any discernible improvement over the last few years specifically,’’ Martins said. “It’s time for different leadership in basketball operations. We certainly wish Rob and his family well. “Matt brings solid experience and his appointment as general manager on an interim basis will allow us to seamlessly continue our preparations for the upcoming draft,’’ Martins added.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Orlando has fired GM Rob Hennigan, league source tells @TheVertical.
Jeff Zillgitt: Have also been told by a person with direct knowledge that Rob Hennigan is out as Magic GM. Not a surprise. @Adrian Wojnarowski first with news.
The Magic also fired assistant general manager Scott Perry on Thursday. Magic assistant GM Matt Lloyd is now the team’s interim GM and will be a candidate for the permanent job.
Sources tell the Orlando Sentinel that Magic officials have interest in former NBA All-Star and former Magic player Grant Hill to work as president of basketball operations. But it’s unclear if Hill has interest in the job. Joining the Magic would require Hill to divest his small ownership stake in the Atlanta Hawks. If Hill doesn’t have interest, candidates for the general manager job likely would include Detroit Pistons associate general manager and former Magic player Pat Garrity and Golden State Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk.
Magic CEO Alex Martins is offering no definitive answers. Since mid-February, Martins has said Hennigan, like all employees, would be evaluated at the end of the season. On Tuesday, Martins said, “We’ve begun the process.” Hennigan is vulnerable, no doubt.
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.
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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April 29, 2017 | 10:01 pm EDT Update
Howard is not happy. The day after the Hawks were drop-kicked into the off-season by Washington, he used the word “pissed” three times to describe his feelings about the way both his and the team’s the season ended. “It was very difficult,” Howard said Saturday. “I want to play. I want to be out on the floor. I want to make a difference. I want to make an impact and I can’t do that on the bench.”
He denied suggestions that match-ups should have anything to do with his reduced time. He denied season-long suspicions that he struggles in the Hawks’ ball-movement, pick-and-roll offense. Physically, he said he feels “amazing.” Mentally, that’s another story.
Josh Lewenberg: Scola turns 37 tomorrow & told us he’s likely done in the NBA. The roles out there aren’t appealing, doesn’t want to keep moving his family