Orlando Magic need to get serious about their GM search

May 23, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic chief executive officer Alex Martins talks with media after they introduce Frank Vogel as their new head coach at Amway Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
May 23, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic chief executive officer Alex Martins talks with media after they introduce Frank Vogel as their new head coach at Amway Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

As the Orlando Magic’s search for a new head of basketball operations continues, the team needs to buckle down and get serious about making a hire soon.

The Orlando Magic have spent the first two weeks after the regular season largely quiet. The team had a big task ahead of it to find a new leader for its basketball operations after firing Rob Hennigan.

Team CEO Alex Martins promised a robust search for a new general manager. The team is exploring a number of different avenues, including changing some of its organizational structure. And the team has already hired a search firm to help sort through some of the available candidates.

As somewhat expected, the team was going to wait for a few of the top NBA teams to get eliminated from the Playoffs before moving on their front office executives. That is going to effect the timeline. It may very well mean the Magic head into the NBA Draft Combine without their front office situation finalized. They may very well go to the NBA Draft Lottery on May 16 without anyone in place.

At what point is the Magic’s deadline to make a decision? How long are they willing to wait?

It has become increasingly clear with reports throughout the last few days the Magic’s top target is Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin. Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reports the Magic intend to offer Griffin their top front office job. Sam Amick of USA TODAY confirmed the team’s interest in Griffin. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical was the first to report the Magic’s interest in Griffin.

There is enough smoke to assume a fire is raging inside the Amway Center or at the Magic’s search firm’s offices. Assume, for now, the interest in Griffin is real.

Griffin is in an interesting scenario. He brings with him experience winning a championship and building a championship team. LeBron James sure helps. But Griffin still had to maneuver his team into cap space to sign James in the first place, shift his plan to face his new reality and maintain some flexibility to improve that team.

There is a perception about Griffin that he is lucky. And he is. But he also created a lot of the opportunity that ultimately brought the Cavaliers a championship.

He now wants a contract extension for that work before he hits free agency this summer. This is why the Magic are suddenly interested in a sitting GM.

As many have rightly pointed out, the Cavaliers are not about to give permission for any team to speak to Griffin until their season is over. That is their bargaining leverage. Orlando has seemingly put Griffin at the top of its list.

Simply, the waiting has begun for the Magic now.

But Orlando does not have all day to wait. NBA Draft preparations are continuing with the NBA Draft Combine occurring next week in Chicago and the NBA Draft Lottery the week after. Surely, with such an important draft on the horizon, the Magic would like to have their basketball leadership in place before making a selection, giving them at least a chance to review the Magic’s scouting materials before making this critical decision.

As is often the case, the new general manager or president of basketball operations will be making one of his most important decisions right off the bat.

And so this waiting game does not seem ideal, even if Griffin is a legitimate and the best candidate available. Orlando has to know they can get him and be willing to wait. . . or they need to move on and find someone they can put in place to make this critical decision.

So far, the names that have come out are nice and gaudy. The Magic’s search firm is reportedly asking about Larry Bird after his resignation from the Indiana Pacers. And Sam Amick of USA TODAY reports the Magic also are considering talking to Kevin McHale.

Two all-time great players with general manager experience would certainly set the tone for the front office and the basketball operations the Magic want to build. But, adding in Griffin, all of it seems like a pipe dream. The Magic seem to be reaching for dream candidates — like Bird and Griffin — instead of focusing on more realistic candidates.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

Orlando is looking for experience, that much is clear. And these three leaked candidates have plenty of it. But experience is not good on its own.

McHale has virtually a .500 record as a manager and as a coach. He built some solid Minnesota teams with Kevin Garnett as their anchor. But that team only got out of the first round once. He was the general manager during the infamous Joe Smith scandal.

It is not to say McHale would not be a good face for the basketball operations or that he is not capable of doing the job. He is. But it certainly seems like the team is settling for someone with some clout and experience rather than success.

The other leaked candidate, Griffin, has a ton of experience running a modern organization. But the Magic also would have to wait a significantly long time to even interview him. That is a risk the team has to weigh.

What happens if you swing for the fences and miss? Then you are left with coach Frank Vogel and interim general manager Matt Lloyd running things. It appears that may not be the worst thing in the world as the team seems willing to keep Lloyd on as the day-to-day general manager under a new president of basketball operations.

Time though is running short to get the new organizational structure up and running before the Draft. It is time for the Magic to really buckle down and get serious about this decision, winnowing down candidates to make a decision in the next few weeks.

These pie-in-the-sky names that have leaked are nice. Orlando is thinking big and being ambitious with this search. There is no denying that. And it is a sign of the direction the Magic want to go.

In all likelihood, the team has some other options on the table. Not everything has leaked. What has leaked, though, is encouraging to a point.

It is encouraging the team has a clear identity it wants to take on with its front office and seems open to giving more power to a true leader in basketball operations.

But now is the time to get more serious about the team’s search. The Magic need to get moving more toward hiring a new president of basketball operations, general manager or whatever the team wants to call him.

Next: Mock Draft Roundup: Past the (first) deadline

There is not much more time to wait. And certainly, less time to waste hoping for the dream selections.