The NBA Draft is June 22 and the Orlando Magic does not have a general manager. Assistant General Manager Matt Lloyd has been getting the team ready for draft night while the search continues.
Team CEO Alex Martins expressed confidence in Lloyd when the latter was elevated to interim GM after the firing of Rob Hennigan.
“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,” Martins said at the press conference announcing the moves.
With each passing day it becomes clear Lloyd had better be up to the job because if that new leader is not him, (Martins said Lloyd will be considered), an outsider getting up to speed just before a draft will take some time. So who might that person be?
Speculation runs high that Cleveland General Manager David Griffin is the desired candidate. He is without a contract beyond this year and the Magic are unable to speak with him until the current season ends. Under those circumstances, is Griffin even being allowed access into draft preparations?
It is now highly likely the Cavaliers will be playing well into June. Sorry Raptors and Celtics fans, the Fighting LeBrons are playing too well.
If Martins decides the Magic cannot wait that long, who is swimming in the pool of candidates? One of those speculated is laughable on its face.
When Larry Bird resigned as President of the Indiana Pacers recently, his name was somehow thrown into the mix. Let’s have an imaginary conversation between Martins and Magic Coach Frank Vogel.
Martins: “Frank, we’re bringing in Larry Bird to run the front office. What do you think?”
Vogel: “You mean the guy that fired me 12 months ago? The guy that got Paul George all hacked off and wanting out?”
Martins: “Oh, forget all of that. It brought you to Orlando, right? He’s been hearing from people up there for months that those were big mistakes. Everyone learns from mistakes.”
Vogel: “With all due respect, boss, I appreciate Hennigan hiring me, but he was your mistake and you’re making another one.”
Martins: “Touché. Look, he promised to get Victor Oladipo back, so that sealed it for me.”
Vogel: “Sealed it for me, too. I’ll have my bags packed awaiting Larry’s call.”
According to ESPN, Bird is not interested in the job. Vogel should be most concerned with another candidate, former Minnesota Timberwolves’ executive and coach, Kevin McHale. He also coached the Houston Rockets.
McHale has come down from the front office before to take over the coaching reigns. After firing Randy Wittman in 2008, McHale became the team’s head coach, but for less than two years.
Other top candidates are Toronto General Manager Jeff Weltman and Milwaukee General Manager John Hammond. Weltman should be able to talk in a few days after his overmatched Raptors meet their inevitable demise against the Cavaliers. Hammond can be interviewed at any time since the Bucks lost in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.