Storyline: Rob Hennigan Hot Seat?

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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.

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.”

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.

Rob Hennigan on the hot seat?

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 A big build-up has been replaced by a big letdown, leaving fans and season-ticket-holders sad, mad – or worse – indifferent.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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February 24, 2018 | 12:47 pm EST Update
LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer on Saturday said that trading Blake Griffin was “a very difficult decision,” but that considerations about the future, as well as injury and chemistry concerns, necessitated the blockbuster deal with the Detroit Pistons. “[Griffin] is obviously a superstar player,” said Ballmer. “But if you look at what happened injury-wise, if you look at the kind of chemistry we were getting on our team, the thing you can see at the high level with the numbers when I started — one guy got all the assists, one guy got all the points and one guy got all the rebounds. It’s not all quite that way, but I think in the modern NBA, we were seeing it more and more — there’s a greater distribution of responsibility.”
4 hours ago via ESPN
“We have to add some pieces obviously, but I think we’re building for what I think is the modern NBA, and that trend has only accelerated since we signed Blake last summer.” Ballmer said that as the Clippers owner, he doesn’t believe in the practice commonly regarded as “tanking,” whereby teams strip their rosters of high-level talent and endure losing seasons with a focus on accumulating high draft picks.
4 hours ago via ESPN
Ballmer said that the Clippers organization deploys analytics in a number of areas, including health and coaching, but that he was most fascinated by the use of data with regard to the management of the NBA’s complex collective bargaining agreement, which governs the salary cap. Ballmer alluded to a trade the Clippers made this past offseason which sent former Clippers point guard Chris Paul to the Rockets for a collection of players. “I find it a very interesting numeric chess game, if you will,” Ballmer said. “There are teams that absolutely do it better, and do it worse. I see [Morey] sitting in the front row. We made a trade: Chris Paul for a number of guys back from Houston. I thought they did something very clever having a whole set of non-guaranteed contracts that really gave them more flexibility in putting the deal together with us than they would’ve had otherwise.”
4 hours ago via ESPN
The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club has transferred guard Josh Magette and forward Andrew White III from Atlanta to the Erie BayHawks, the team’s NBA G League affiliate, it was announced today. Both players are on two-way contracts. In 31 games with Erie (29 starts), Magette has compiled 15.2 points, 9.9 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 34.8 minutes, leading the G League in assists while ranking 15th in steals.
Asked how he appraised his $2 billion bid for the Clippers in 2014 — then a record for an NBA team — Ballmer said he relied on both quantitative analysis and intelligence of the marketplace and the pool of potential buyers. “I looked at what the cash flows would be, and what kind of multiple you’d put on,” Ballmer said. “A team in L.A. is literally beachfront real estate. It’s worth a lot more than teams everywhere else. Because if you ever get a foreign buyer later on — foreign buyers only want to buy in a few cities, which I knew because it was part of the pressure on the price. There was a lurking foreign buyer, if you will, for the team. But ultimately, I knew what the price was in the good old-fashioned way: I knew what the next bidder wanted to pay.”
4 hours ago via ESPN
February 24, 2018 | 11:03 am EST Update
The All-Star forward became the first player to ever post 45 points, 15 rebounds, five steals and five blocks in a game since the NBA started recording steals and blocks in 1973-74. Davis has been playing at an MVP level since the team lost star center DeMarcus Cousins to a season-ending Achilles injury, and it’s given New Orleans the belief that it can remain a contender in the ultra-competitive Western Conference playoff race. “I looked at the stat sheet when we were walking in and I couldn’t believe he had 45 points,” Gentry said. “That’s not a good thing because, now, I almost feel like I’m taking him for granted.”