The long awaited decision has finally been made by Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins and the new general manager is former Oklahoma City Thunder assistant general manager Rob Hennigan. Now that step one is complete, Hennigan must get to work on finding a head coach and trying to convince Dwight Howard that staying in Orlando is in his best interest.
While finding a coach is paramount following the controversial firing of Stan Van Gundy, most people will be more concerned with Hennigan’s attempts to convince Howard to remain in Orlando long term. After a long season of back-and-forth about whether or not Howard would remain in Orlando, the league’s top center signed a document waiving the opt-out clause of his contract meaning he will be contracted to the Magic through the 2012-13 season.
No one would argue that convincing Howard to stay looks like a daunting task but Hennigan does have experience re-signing big name players. With star players all over the league bolting to the biggest endorsement deals, I mean “team that will win”, the Thunder were able to re-sign their franchise player Kevin Durant in 2010 and their second biggest star Russell Westbrook in January.
Of course, nobody would claim Howard is anything like Durant. When Durant re-signed with the Thunder two years ago, there was no fanfare or press conference. It was just a tweet to inform everyone he was staying in the sooner state. Judging by the way he handled the situation last year, Howard will probably insist a brass band be in attendance.
No matter what the final result is with Howard, Hennigan would be doing himself and the Magic a favor if he finishes it quickly. The saga last season which became known as “Dwightmare” was clearly a distraction for a team that, despite the disruption, still made the playoffs. If Howard re-signs with the team that drafted him in 2004, the Magic will be contenders this next season but if he doesn’t the rebuilding process will start immediately. So for the new Orlando Magic general manager, the challenge starts now.