The Orlando Magic’s search process for a new top basketball executive could extend until the end of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ playoff run, which would allow Orlando to gauge the interest of general manager David Griffin, league sources told The Vertical.
The Magic are researching multiple possible candidates to replace former GM Rob Hennigan, but the possibility of Griffin does intrigue Orlando CEO Alex Martins and top Magic officials, league sources said.
Griffin’s contract expires at the end of the season and talks on a new contract with Cavaliers ownership have been stalled for months, league sources said. There’s an increasing belief among league executives that Griffin could be lured away from Cleveland, league sources said.
Griffin was the front-office architect of Cleveland’s 2016 NBA championship team. The Cavs hold a 3-0 series lead over Indiana in the first-round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Nevertheless, owner Dan Gilbert has the highest payroll in the NBA at $126 million and rewarded coach Ty Lue with a five-year, $35 million contract. So far, Gilbert has hesitated in offering Griffin an extension that’s on par with the NBA’s championship-level executives, league sources told The Vertical.
The Magic are using Jed Hughes of the Korn Ferry search firm to gather information on the process, but Martins has been significantly engaged in the identification and vetting of candidates, league sources said.
Assistant GM Matt Lloyd has been working as the interim general manager, and will be a candidate for the permanent GM job. Lloyd is so well-respected by his front-office peers, several GMs told The Vertical, that they’ve been reluctant to make recommendations to Orlando about potential candidates because they hoped that Martins and ownership would seriously consider Lloyd’s candidacy.
The Magic are patient enough to wait until the end of the NBA Finals for a chance to engage Griffin, allowing Lloyd to prepare for the NBA draft and set a course for July free agency, league sources said.
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