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.
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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.
Bill Doyle: Magic coach Frank Vogel on rumor that GM job of Worcester’s Rob Hennigan in jeopardy: Nobody pays attention to that stuff. He does good job.
Magic sources have been quick to say that nothing has been decided yet on either the future of Hennigan or who would replace him if he is indeed replaced. However, it does seem like some initial groundwork has been laid. League sources have said that many of the Magic’s lower level basketball executives have started gauging jobs elsewhere in the NBA, understanding that a front office change is likely.
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.
If the Magic don’t find a big name to become president of basketball operations, the franchise would have no shortage of options to replace Hennigan. Current Magic assistant general managers Scott Perry and Matt Lloyd could draw consideration. Detroit Pistons associate general manager and former Magic player Pat Garrity and Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk likely would be considered, too.
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.
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.”
Sources close to the process say they are not sold that Martins will fire Hennigan. Much like the first year in 2012, Martins knew the team was embarking on a new course, one built around more veterans. The Magic landed a few in free agency and will be set up nicely this summer to pursue more. As the Magic sit today they have just $67.4 million in salary commitments for the 2017 season, with the salary cap set to be just at $102 million, giving the Magic about $34.6 million to spend this summer.
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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June 22, 2017 | 9:38 pm EDT Update
Jeff Zillgitt: Hearing the Timberwolves are still trying to trade Ricky Rubio and find a new point guard via free agency.