When Rob Hennigan took over as general manager of the Orlando Magic in the summer of 2012, the team was locked into several long, expensive contracts, the Dwight Howard saga was looming on the horizon and the franchise was stuck in a tricky financial mess that GM Otis Smith left behind.
Now, with the recent buyout of Glen Davis, Orlando's roster is nearly full of guys Hennigan chose. How did he flip the roster around so quickly? Let's take a look at the Magic's timeline of roster moves over the last year and a half.
The early days
Hennigan is hired on June 20, 2012 after eight years working with Spurs and the Thunder. On June 28, he selects Andrew Nicholson with the No. 19 pick and Kyle O'Quinn at No. 49. So far, both guys look like they will have healthy NBA careers.
July 5, 2012
Hennigan's first contract move as a GM was to reward Jameer Nelson's leadership and loyalty to the franchise with a brand new three-year, $25.2 million contract. Some people say the deal is too expensive, but the final season (2014-15) is only guaranteed $2 million.
Nelson is the grey area in the Hennigan timeline. The veteran point guard isn't exactly a player of Hennigan's choosing because he was drafted in 2004, but his contract suggests that Hennigan wanted Nelson to help chaperon the rebuild.
July 8, 2012
Hennigan ships Ryan Anderson to the Pelicans in a sign-and-trade for Gustavo Ayon. Anderson's deal was signed for four-years, $34 million. Ayon is no longer in Orlando and some Magic fans are still upset that Anderson was essentially traded for nothing. Still, this trade solidified Hennigan's long approach to rebuilding. He was valuing future flexibility, even if it cost him a good player.
July 28, 2012
Jacque Vaughn is hired as the Magic's head coach after two seasons as an assistant coach in San Antonio under Gregg Popovich.
August 9, 2012
Hennigan ships Howard and spare change to the Lakers and Jason Richardson's contract to the Sixers. Howard leaves L.A., Andre Iguodala leaves Denver and Andrew Bynum never plays a game in Philadelphia. Orlando, meanwhile, is left with Nikola Vucevic, Arron Afflalo, Maurice Harkless, Al Harrington, Christian Eyenga, Josh McRoberts and a second-round pick that becomes Romero Osby. After early criticism, Hennigan clearly wins this deal.
February 21, 2013
J.J. Redick, Ayon and Ish Smith are traded to Milwaukee for Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb and Beno Udrih. The team also receives Hakim Warrick and cash considerations for McRoberts. Warrick is waived and Udrih is allowed to walk in the summer. Harris becomes an integral piece of the rebuilding puzzle.
June 27, 2013
Orlando's worst record rewards it with the second overall pick, and Hennigan selects Victor Oladipo from Indiana. Oladipo is currently neck-and-neck with Michael Carter-Williams in the Rookie of the Year race and recently led the Magic back against the New York Knicks with 30 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds.
Free Agency 2013
Hennigan signs veteran forward Jason Maxiell to a two-year, $5 million deal and veteran point guard Ronnie Price to two-years, $2.6 million. Otherwise, he sits out.
Jan. 3, 2014
Hedo Turkoglu is waived after an unsuccessful return to the Magic in 2010.
Feb. 21, 2014
Davis and the Magic agree to a buyout, effectively ridding the Magic of every single Otis Smith player. One can argue that Nelson isn't a Hennigan player since Hennigan did not draft him, but the contract extension he rewarded the veteran with suggests that he is in fact Hennigan's guy.
In less than two years, Hennigan has proven to be a crafty general manager with an eye for talent and the penchant for reading into trades. That hasn't converted into a bunch of wins in Orlando yet, but the future is bright. It's progress for a franchise that was left with little stability under Smith.