Rob Hennigan was introduced as the new general manager of the Orlando Magic on Thursday afternoon. Hennigan the youngest GM in the league, 30, spent two of the last four seasons as assistant GM for the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Hennigan was introduced with all the burdens that have plagued the franchise that is just three years removed from the NBA Finals.
“There’s no question there’s pressure, this is a pressure business and you’ve got to earn your keep, and nobody’s going to try and do any favors for you, We’re just going to keep our heads down and keep our sleeves rolled up and get to work.”
Hennigan replaces Otis Smith who was fired just one month ago (May 21st). Alex Martins spoke of high praise for the young gun. “His experience, and what he’s done in the organizations that he’s been with, far exceed his years, and clearly that’s what’s important. Age is not a factor; experience and who you’ve worked with and the habits that you’ve developed, that’s what’s important in being successful in this role.”
The Magic won 50 or more games in four consecutive seasons under Smith, and reached the finals in 2009; this past season the Magic went 37-29 and lost in the first round for a second straight year. The season was smeared by Dwight Howard trade requests and unhappiness with upper management and head coach Stan Van Gundy.
Howard, in the last year of his contract, has not withdrawn his trade request and will be a challenge for the new GM. “Personally I look forward to sitting down with Dwight and sharing with him the vision and the direction we’re going to go, and I look forward to listening to what his thought process is and where his head’s at. At the end of the day we’ll take it from there.”
When asked about hiring a new coach, Hennigan claimed “We’re going to be starting that process immediately. Simply put our goal is to build an elite basketball operation, both on the court and off the court.”
The 2012 NBA Draft is June 28th at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. It will be the first for Hennigan as a GM. The Magic will have the 19th overall selection in the first round and the 49th overall pick in the second round.
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