Magic fans will have to be a little more patient. With the Finals already begun, several teams set to name new coaches and the NBA Draft quickly approaching, Orlando is still without a general manager. But the process is beginning to come to an end.
Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reports that the Magic are down to three finalists — former New Orleans general manager Jeff Bower, Oklahoma City assistant general manager Rob Hennigan and San Antonio vice president and assistant general manager Jeff Lindsey. The finalists are expected to meet with the DeVos family in Michigan before a final hire is made.
Sure to make Magic fans a little more impatient, Robbins reports that more finalists may be added.
The good news is that the search is nearing an end and many are anticipating that the Magic will have a new general manager in place by the early part of next week. That timeline is pure speculation though. The other good news is that only serious rumors are getting reported now that the Phil Jackson rumors were seriously discredited by the parties involved.
While Orlando’s silence has frustrated fans to some end, the franchise has gone through its process and is clearly taking the time to make sure this decision is both an informed one and the right one. Anyone who follows the Magic does not need to be told how critical this hire could be for the next decade of the franchise. There is no sense rushing into it.
The three finalists for the job are also very solid candidates. It is difficult to see going wrong with any of the three.
Bower is the only one of the three that has experience as the guy in the hot chair. He was the head guy in New Orleans that helped bring in (and then subsequently failed to move) Tyson Chandler and drafted two-time All Star David West to surround Chris Paul.
He, as some have pointed out, had a lot of cap to clear and had to overspend on some free agents because New Orleans was not an ideal location for free agents. The thought is that he would do better in Orlando, a place that has always been on free agents’ radar.
His draft history is not quite as good. He selected Cedric Simmons behind J.J. Redick in 2006, Julian Wright in 2007 and Craig Brackins (from Oklahoma City) in 2010. His best pick was the late-first round steal of Darren Collison, who proved critical when Chris Paul got hurt.
New Orleans was in the Playoffs for the most part of Bower’s tenure so he was picking in the latter half of the Draft for the most part. But the Hornets never really did much in the postseason despite that Paul/West/Chandler core and remained a middling team.
The Magic like his experience clearly, but they want a little something more in their general manager. It sounded like they want someone who establish a program and a philosophy up and down the organization. This has been something the Magic have talked about and thought they had, but the failures of the last two years have them re-emphasizing this again.
Bower lacks championship experience and building a championship program. This is why many lean toward the work that Lindsey and Hennigan.
Both Lindsey and Hennigan are from the R.C. Buford/Sam Presti family built in San Antonio. And there is no questioning the championship chops and pedigree that franchise has spawned.
Lindsey is the more experienced of the two and has passed over several other general manager jobs in the past. He has served as Buford’s right-hand man in many respects for the past several years in San Antonio.
The last two years have seen a regular season renaissance, at least, for the “aging” Spurs. This year’s top-seeded Western Conference Finalist was the youngest team in the Tim Duncan era and featured a nice mix of the battle-tested veterans and young players plucked from the later picks in the draft and developed properly.
It all came together for a fantastic season this year before running into San Antonio’s general managing brother, Oklahoma City.
Hennigan is considerably younger. He is only 30 years old, but quickly rose through the Thunder’s ranks and now is in charge of their college, international and pro scouting departments. There is very little doubting of the Thunder’s drafting prowess too. They did a nice job getting a late-round pick in Reggie Jackson (who was playing well above average before a torn ACL ended his season) last year.
Hennigan and Lindsey likely would share similar philosophies on building teams because of the ties between the Spurs and Thunder front office.
Those appear to be the three that have an appointment at some time later this week or early next week to meet with the DeVos family.