POSTED: Feb 17, 2016 11:04 AM ET
Orlando traded forward Tobias Harris to Detroit on Tuesday for Jennings and Ilyasova. Hennigan said the move was intended to improve the Magic's postseason chances, not dump salary after another disappointing stretch.
"I think we're right in striking distance for a playoff spot," Hennigan said. "We feel like our team has played well the last few games, and we just have to sustain that momentum and add to that momentum. The goal is to make the playoffs and the goal is to win, and that's what we're trying to do."
The 23-year-old Harris missed the last three games before the All-Star break with a sprained left ankle. After losing 15 of 17 games, the Magic beat Atlanta twice and barely lost to San Antonio without Harris. But they are 23-29 and 3 1/2 games out of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.
"I think we've lost eight games by three points or less and five overtime games. I think we can all see it; We're right there. We just have a hard time closing those games out," Hennigan said. "We're not saying we're going to solve all those problems now, but we do think this is a step in the right direction. We're trying to win. Losing is unacceptable, and we're serious about winning."
The 28-year-old Ilyasova is averaging 11.3 points. The Pistons acquired him last offseason in a trade with Milwaukee. Jennings is averaging 6.8 points in 18.1 minutes a game. He returned in late December from an Achilles tendon injury that kept him out 11 months.
Jennings is in the last year of his contract. He now joins an Orlando team that has been going with second-year man Elfrid Payton at point guard.
"We see Brandon and Ersan as really good fits, both short-term and long-term for us," Hennigan said. "We also were able to open up some flexibility this summer in the cap-space realm, if we decided to go that route. It sets up a few different ways we can play this."
The 6-foot-9 Harris is in the first year of a $64 million, four-year contract that made him the highest-paid player on the team. He came to Orlando three years ago in a six-player deal that sent J.J. Redick to Milwaukee.
Harris is averaging 13.7 points per game this season, down from 17.1 in 2014-15. His 3-point accuracy is down to 31 percent after he shot a career-high 36 percent a season ago.
He thanked the city of Orlando, coach Scott Skiles and his teammates in a post on Instagram.
"God closes one door to open up another," the post said. "Though this is not the easiest time it's part of life and part of the business of being a professional."
Hennigan would not rule out more roster changes before Thursday's trade deadline.
"We'll see. Maybe, maybe not," he said. "We just feel this was a necessary step for us to take to try to balance out the roster and add a little more experience, add some complementary skill sets that we may lack right now. We feel like we've added some more scoring and some shooting ... and we just felt like Tobias was the person to move in this scenario."