GM Shuffle: NBA Teams Reexamine Management Following Hectic Season


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After missing the playoffs this year, the Orlando Magic have fired GM Rob Hennigan.  According to rumors on RealGM Wiretap, the Magic are interested in hiring Grant Hill as President Of Basketball Operations, but assistant GM Matt Lloyd will take over the position in the interim. Hill has partial ownership of the Atlanta Hawks and would have to divest himself in order to take a position in Orlando.

The New York Knicks will also miss the playoffs for the fourth year in a row. The team recently announced that they will pick up their option with Phil Jackson, keeping him under contract for two more seasons as the President of Basketball Operations. Jackson is currently scheduled to meet with Carmelo Anthony, coach Jeff Hornacek and other staff to discuss the teams direction moving forward. There’s been a lot of speculation that they may ask Melo to waive the no trade clause in his contract so they can begin a rebuilding process in New York.
Cleveland landed the Number 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, but general manager David Griffin currently has no contract lined up for next year. The Cavs owners were unable to reach an extension agreement with Griffin last summer and the two parties have yet to come to terms. While Griffin has no new contract, he does have the support LeBron James, who gave the GM his full support during an interview with ESPN [via NBA.com]:

“It makes no sense why he shouldn’t get an extension. He’s pulled every move — he’s tried to make every move happen — to better this team to be able to compete for a championship. So we wouldn’t be in this position, obviously, without him and without the guys that are here — from the coaching staff to the players to Griff. He’s been a big piece of it.”

The Los Angeles Lakers are also in a chaotic state following the firing of former VP of Basketball Operations Jim Buss by his sister, and co-owner, Jeanie Buss. Mitch Kupchack was terminated as GM along with Buss, and the two men were replaced by Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson, respectively. Pelinka recently sat down with NBA.com‘s Mike Trudell to talk about the team’s focus during the transition:

“I think all of us – Luke [Walton], Magic [Johnson], myself, Jeanie [Buss] – feel like there’s a little bit of a sort of casualness that has crept in. Like, we’re done all these great things, so maybe we don’t have to outwork everyone else, or out-hustle everyone else, or have a greater version than everyone else.

So I think we’ve all gotten to that point where we say, ‘OK, we’re blowing up any of those notions and we’re going to bring back a new mentality …This is a position of responsibility for one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. What responsibility do I have to this day and to this moment? And I think bringing that back, all of us, to the players and the fans is one of the first things we’re working on.”

One of the biggest question marks this season has been the Chicago Bulls. The team managed to scrap their way into the playoffs following Wednesday night’s win against the Brooklyn Nets, but their future still seems uncertain.
It’s been a very rocky for GM Gar Forman and VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson (“GarPax”). Throughout the season there have been repeated calls for owner Jerry Reinsdorf to fire both members of the front office. We wrote about that in our piece: “Fans Find Solace In The #FireGarPax Movement“. 
Since then,  ESPN ranked GarPax acquisition Fred Hoiberg as the worst coach in the league. Orlando’s promotion of Matt Lloyd also looks bad for GarPax. Interestingly enough, the Lloyd was a scout for the Bulls before the Magic lured him away in 2012. While working in Chicago, Lloyd was responsible for drafting Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson, James Johnson and Jimmy Butler. Many fans blame GarPax for his departure and the lack of solid picks since then.
While the playoff berth has given the front office a stronger foothold moving forward, their job stability seems to rest heavily on the success of their moves this offseason.
[Main photo via Flickr user Keith Allison]