Thursday, March 7, 2013

Orlando Magic Future is Bright with Rob Hennigan

The Orlando Magic franchise looks very different these days.  No longer is Dwight Howard wearing #12 on his back with the word Magic on the front, Stan Van Gundy is no longer the head coach, J.J. Redick wears purple and green and Ryan Anderson will be a Pelican next season.  But new GM Rob Hennigan has started surgically repairing this broken roster.  You knew that this franchise would be rebuilt the day the Orlando Magic hired Hennigan because of his resume.

Hennigan spent the past four seasons with Oklahoma City, including the last two seasons as the Thunder’s assistant general manager/player personnel. Hennigan spent his first two seasons with the Thunder as the team’s director of college/international player personnel.

Prior to joining the Thunder, Hennigan spent four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs. He was named director of basketball operations in September of 2007. Hennigan began as an intern during the 2004-05 season and was later named the team’s basketball operations assistant during the summer of 2005. The Spurs won the NBA World Championship in 2004-05 and 2006-07. - NBA.com
Look where those two teams are today and you can understand why the Magic hired the (at the time) 30 year old and made him the NBA's youngest GM. 
The Magic quickly made moves after the hiring of Hennigan and it started with a sign and trade of Ryan Anderson.  The New Orleans Hornets offered and Ryan Anderson agreed to a 4yr/$34mil deal that the Magic did not want to match, so they did a sign and trade for Gustavo Ayon.  I am not sure I would have signed Anderson for that much money when the roster already had Glen Davis and Hedo Turkoglu, essentially making Ryan Anderson the teams 7th man because J.J. Redick was the teams 6th man at the time. On top of that, the front office knew that Dwight Howard was being traded, so they needed some type of depth at the position.  Plus, who wants to just let good young players walk, when you can get something in return?  MagicBasketball.net has a nice follow up article, updating the franchise status sans Ryan Anderson.

July 11, 2012: Traded by the Orlando Magic to the New Orleans Hornets for Gustavo Ayon. - Basketball Reference

The key move towards rebuilding this franchise was getting rid of the headcase that is Dwight Howard and the Magic nailed this one!  Too often franchises think that their star player will return based on loyalty and too often that team gets burned by their superstar.  If Albert Pujols and LeBron James can walk away, than anyone can walk away.  More franchise need to start understanding this and using their best assests to their advantage.  That's what the Oklahoma City Thunder did with James Harden, and look how nice their future is set up because of it.

While the Orlando Magic might have lost out on Earl Clark, they were able to get Nikola Vucevic from the Philadelphia 76ers and to me, that makes them the winner of the D12 4 way trade.

August 10, 2012: As part of a 4-team trade;
So to make that easier to read:

Magic Get - Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Christian Eyenga, Josh McRoberts, Maurice Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, Nuggets '14 1st round pick, Lakers '17 1st round pick, 76ers future 1st round pick

Magic Trade - Dwight Howard, Jason Richardson

That my friends, is how you make a trade in the National Basketball Association.  Now granted injuries have provided the neccessary playing time for Vucevic and even Harkless, the fact that these guys are on the roster is what is important.  "Big Baby" Glen Davis and Hedo Turkoglu have missed most of the season opening up plenty of playing time for the youngsters.

This past February brought us the much anticipated NBA Trade Deadline and J.J. Redick was one of the big names available.  Headed for free agency this off season, the Magic had no option but to find the best deal for a "one dimensional" player.  Redick is leaps and bounds above the player he was went he left Duke, but he will never be a "star" player in the NBA.  The Magic did well for themselves getting back two young prospects in Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb, while getting an insurance policy for Jameer Nelson in Beno Udrih.  As we have seen since the deal went down, Tobias Harris just needed minutes to be effective. 

February 21, 2013: Traded by the Orlando Magic with Gustavo Ayon and Ishmael Smith to the Milwaukee Bucks for Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb, Beno Udrih and cash. - Basketball Reference
You can expect the Magic to look to unload their pricey veterans like Glen Davis and/or Al Harrington this offseason, but I don't want to specualte or start any rumors.

The Magic are now set up with a roster of 8 players under the age of 25, and in 2 years time will have 10 men under contract for just $22mil.  You can make that $14mil because I doubt they pick up the $8mil team option on Jameer Nelson

If Hennigan decides to go the free agent route to add a star player he will have the potential option of adding that superstar point guard when Kyrie Irving, Ricky Rubio, Greivis Vasquez and John Wall will be POTENTIAL free agents.  Maybe they decide to go out and sign Paul George, Klay Thompson or Evan Turner.  Or maybe, just maybe, they decide that none of the PFs have worked out next to Vucevic and they want to add Kenneeth Faried, Anthony Davis or Derrick Favors to the mix.  Does he dare add DeMarcus Cousins, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond or Enes Kanter to play next to Nicola?

Again, these are all POTENTIAL free agents but Orlando Magic fans have A LOT to look forward too in the near future and they should all be so grateful to have Rob Hennigan as their GM.  Can't wait to see what he does with his first draft pick this spring!

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