Rob Hennigan Rumors

Fortunately, an OKC official was close enough to Donnie Strack, the Thunder’s Vice President of Human and Player Performance, to get his attention. Get the refs, Strack was told. Tell them to stop the tipoff. As Strack ran onto the court, Rob Hennigan, OKC’s VP of Insight and Foresight, started corralling the Thunder’s players and coaches. He then joined the huddle near midcourt with Strack and the referees – crew chief Pat Fraher, Mark Lindsay and Ben Taylor. The officials soon called over the respective head coaches, Quin Snyder and Billy Donovan. Seconds later, they contacted the NBA, through its Digital Operations Center, where the league monitors every game played. Usually, the biggest issue on a given night at the DOC is to help referees determine whether or not to instant replay. This was different.
Amid a strange scene that ended with the cancellation of not just a game but the postponement NBA indefinitely, Strack remained himself. For those unfamiliar with the 6-foot-5 native of Indiana, his face may have exhibited urgency as he explained the scenario to the officials and motioned for Thunder assistant general manager Rob Hennigan to join the huddle. But Strack’s face maintained the same controlled concern he has when talking to players in pregame with a hand on their shoulder and an even tone.

Frank Vogel on the hot seat?

And now Vogel finds himself in a predicament coaches dread: on the hot seat, unsure if his team’s front office will retain him for next season. Vogel is in a precarious spot. Between Vogel’s first and second seasons, the Magic fired Rob Hennigan as the team’s general manager, dismissed many other key figures within the basketball operations department and hired Jeff Weltman as the president of basketball operations and John Hammond as the general manager.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 33 more rumors
As they have remained quiet, gossip has swirled for months within NBA circles about Vogel’s future. The speculation accelerated after the Magic followed a superb 8-4 start with an injury-fueled nine-game losing streak. The conjecture has always centered around an assumption that Weltman will want to pick his own coach rather than retain the coach he inherited. Then, with a new coach in place, Weltman ostensibly would undertake an incremental rebuild and reboot the failed effort that began under Hennigan.
Many executives and scouts throughout the NBA think the Magic’s roster has been flawed throughout Vogel’s tenure. In the months leading into Vogel’s first season, the Magic made two major failed moves. First, the team traded Victor Oladipo and the draft rights to Domantas Sabonis for Serge Ibaka. Then it signed center Bismack Biyombo to a four-year deal worth $17 million per season.
The league is watching the George situation very closely, and there’s a general belief that the Thunder will have to act if they haven’t significantly improved a few months from now (there are 29 games left before the deadline). With every George trade inquiry – whether it’s Presti on the call or recently returned front office mate/former Orlando Magic GM Rob Hennigan, who often handles such discussions for OKC – executives will be eager to exploit the situation.
The Oklahoma City Thunder named Rob Hennigan as Vice President of Insight & Foresight and promoted Will Dawkins to Vice President of Identification & Intelligence, it was announced today by Executive Vice President & General Manager Sam Presti. In his role, Hennigan will oversee key functions that include Strategic Planning, Data Science & Solutions and Information Management & Counsel. Dawkins will lead the Thunder’s Amateur Evaluation and oversee the Pro Evaluation function.
“I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Rob back to the Thunder. He was here in the earliest stages of the organization in 2008 as we built the foundation for the Thunder that we are continuing to build from as we enter our 10th season in Oklahoma City,” said Presti. “Will has proven to be a true, organic, rising talent within our organization having held several roles and now moving into a vice president and pillar lead position within our executive management team.”
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?
“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.
Storyline: Magic Front Office
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.
Storyline: Grant Hill to Magic?
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 remain active in trade discussions, and Magic general manager Rob Hennigan loves Detroit Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson, who played in Oklahoma City when Hennigan was an assistant GM for the Thunder. More than the Pistons trying to trade Jackson, the Magic are pushing to get him. But the price is not cheap. Who is Orlando willing to send to Detroit? Guard Elfrid Payton? With a high price set for Jackson, don’t be surprised if the Magic are unwilling to pay it.
“It’s been a challenge because what the league has done over the last few years has been dramatic in terms of the style of play and the sophisticated offenses that you are seeing now,’’ Magic coach Frank Vogel said of his team’s struggles in trying to adapt to 3-point-heavy, “small-ball’’ lineups. “You see the offensive numbers just sky-rocketing league-wide. I don’t think anyone in the Eastern Conference has a defensive rating under 102 (points per 100 possessions). That just wasn’t that way a year or two years ago and it’s largely about the spread lineups that you are seeing. So it has been tough to play two bigs,’’ Vogel continued. “That’s why we went to putting (Biyombo) solely as the back-up center.’’
Storyline: Serge Ibaka to Raptors