Magic Fire GM Rob Hennigan

Hennigan Dismissed After 5 Seasons

It should come as no surprise that the Orlando Magic have fired GM Rob Hennigan just hours after the team’s final regular season game. In Hennigan’s five years with the team the Magic failed to make the playoffs, which is the longest postseason drought in team history. But it’s not just about the playoffs that led to Hennigan’s dismissal. Hennigan had lost the respect of his players. Especially after the recent blunder involving a white board that appeared to list the team’s offseason plans. With current player’s names listed for potential trades, there was no going back for Hennigan. On top of that, the team took a huge step back this season finishing with 6 fewer victories than the previous season. After an off-season full of shakeups this was supposed to be the year that Orlando finally reached the post season. Instead, the team is now in a worse position than they were last year as the Magic had the 2nd worst record in the NBA since Hennigan took over.

Now if you are wondering where things went wrong for Hennigan, a lot of it has to do with his draft picks. None of them were ever able to become All-Stars despite being lottery picks. Now if you are thinking it is not Hennigan’s fault that none of his picks became stars, consider this… Orlando had the opportunity to select the following players but passed on them: Draymond Green, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, and Devin Booker. Now if the team had just two of those players, I’m sure that Hennigan keeps his job.

Additionally, if you look beyond who the Magic could have drafted Ron Hennigan did not have a great track record for player personnel. Hennigan traded core players in Victor Oladipo and Tobias Harris, and has little to show for it. These two were building blocks of the franchise that should have either not have been moved in the first place or traded for a player that Orlando can build around.

May 23, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic Head coach Frank Vogel and general manager Rob Hennigan pose for a photo during the press conference at Amway Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If you’d asked me, I think that Hennigan may have had his hands tied on some of his trades by upper management. But that is no reason to let the team sink as far as it has this season. If anything, the Magic should have been in position to win a few more games than the previous season, not heading back to the top of of the draft lottery.

Here’s what Magic CEO Alex Martens had to say about Hennigan in an e-mail to the Media:

“We appreciate Rob’s efforts to rebuild the team, but feel we have not made any discernible improvement over the last few years specifically. It’s time for different leadership in basketball operations. We certainly wish Rob and his family well,” said Martins. “Matt brings solid experience and his appointment as general manager on an interim basis will allow us to seamlessly continue our preparations for the upcoming draft.”

Along with letting Hennigan go today, the Magic named Matt Lloyd as the team’s interim general manager. Lloyd will also be considered to replace Hennigan on a permanent basis. Lloyd has been with the Magic since 2012 as the assistant general manager, and before that he was with the Chicago Bulls organization for 12 years. If nothing else, he at least brings plenty of experience to the table as the Magic prepare for another busy off-season.

Kip Michalak is a former 3-sport collegiate athlete who has been covering the NBA as an Orlando Magic Insider for the past 3 seasons. Kip has also covered high school sports in Tampa Bay for 5 years. In addition to his basketball reporting Kip has covered a handful of major sporting events, which include: 2015 NCAA Women’s Final Four 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final 2016 NCAA Frozen Four 2016 Outback Bowl