By John Denton June 20, 2012 ORLANDO-- Focused on finding an NBA executive with strong strategic skills and a history of championship success, the Orlando Magic have hired Rob Hennigan as their next General Manager.
Magic CEO Alex Martins made the hiring official on Wednesday and Hennigan is expected to meet the media in Orlando on Thursday at a 3 p.m. news conference.
Hennigan, 30, is considered one of the brightest young minds in the NBA after spending the past eight seasons working for successful franchises in San Antonio and Oklahoma City. He was a part of NBA championship teams in San Antonio in 2005 and ’07, and the Thunder are currently in the NBA Finals.
Hennigan will lead the charge of hiring a new head coach for the Magic. Having already spent much of the past season evaluating college and international talent, Hennigan will direct the Magic in the June 28th NBA Draft. The Magic are slated to pick No. 19 and No. 49 next week.
Hennigan has spent the past four seasons in Oklahoma City, where he has helped the Thunder become one of the NBA’s model franchises by building a powerhouse team through the draft. He was the assistant GM and player personnel director each of the past two years, focusing on directing the college and international scouting departments.
In Hennigan’s time in Oklahoma City, the Thunder have drafted particularly well. He’s been a part of a team that has drafted Russell Westbrook (2008), Serge Ibaka (2008), James Harden (2009), Rodrigue Beaubois (2009), Eric Bledsoe (2010) and Quincy Pondexter (2010). Hennigan helped in the development of Ibaka, a native of the Republic of the Congo who spent a season playing in Spain prior to joining the Thunder in Oklahoma City.
A former small college star player at Emerson College, Hennigan got his start in the NBA in 2004 when he was hired by the San Antonio Spurs. He spent four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, working his way up from intern to Basketball Operation Assistant to the Director of Basketball Operations in 2007.
In San Antonio, Hennigan played a major role in the Spurs finding players such as George Hill (2008) and Tiago Splitter (2007). He admitted recently that much of his style of managing people and evaluating talent comes from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
``It’s kind of funny, because (the interview process with San Antonio) has very little to do with basketball, actually,’’ Hennigan told GoLocalWorcester. ``Guys like Coach Popovich, they were more concerned with your values and work ethic. The culture in San Antonio has everything to do with finding good people.’’
In Orlando, Hennigan will be charged with continuing to build a Magic franchise that is quite familiar with success. Orlando has made six straight playoff appearances, the longest such streak in the Eastern Conference. And since the DeVos family purchased the Magic in the 1991-92 season, Orlando is tied for the best winning percentage (.540) in the NBA.
In addition to naming a coach and handling the draft, Hennigan will have some decisions to make as it relates to the Magic’s current team. Point guard Jameer Nelson received an extension from the NBA to delay his opt-out decision until June 29. J.J. Redick does not have a fully guaranteed contract for next season, and Ryan Anderson – the NBA’s Most Improved Player in 2012 – is a restricted free agent. And, of course, the future of superstar center Dwight Howard is cloudy following his back surgery in March.Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Magic and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.
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