A big reason why the Magic were able to come through the Dwight Howard trade in August of 2012 with loads of promise is, of course, Hennigan. Of all the promising youngsters in the Magic system, the whip-smart, 31-year-old Hennigan might be the best of the bunch. Hired in June of 2012 as the youngest GM in the NBA, Hennigan quickly proved his mettle for running a franchise with some deft dealings that opened eyes around the NBA.
Pressed into the seemingly no-win position of having to deal the disgruntled Howard, Hennigan refused the obvious one-for-one swapping of Howard for Andrew Bynum because of red flags about the latter’s knee troubles. That proved to be wise judgment as Bynum missed all of the 2012-13 season with pain in his knees.
Instead of settling for a lemon in Bynum, Hennigan executed off a massive four-team, 12-player transaction that brought the Magic three starters in Afflalo, Vucevic and Harkless, two future first-round picks and some much-needed salary cap relief by shedding Jason Richardson and Chris Duhon. It was not only a great talent acquisition for the Magic, but it was also the kind of genius move that alters the direction of a franchise for years to come.
As if that bold move wasn’t already spectacular enough, Hennigan might have actually one-upped himself last February when he dealt fan favorite J.J. Redick to avoid losing him with no compensation in return. In the eyes of some, Redick’s value might have been diminished by his pending free agency, but Hennigan was still able to parlay him into Harris and 22-year-old shooting guard Doron Lamb.