It wasn't an easy choice for Hennigan — at least not at first. He had done well with the Spurs.

Hennigan and Presti talked things over on that walk through Oklahoma City, and they wound up at the memorial — a site that every new Thunder player and new Thunder employee visits.

They looked out onto the site's reflecting pool and its 168 chairs spread throughout a field of grass, each chair honoring one of the 168 Oklahomans who died in McVeigh's attack.

"It was important that I walked Rob through the memorial, I think, for context as to what it was that we were trying to embark on in Oklahoma City," Presti says.

"We were given the privilege of establishing an organizational identity, and in order to really understand the mission at large, I think you have to understand the community and the history that exists. That history is what makes working in Oklahoma City a tremendously special opportunity and, really, a gift."

In 2010, Presti promoted Hennigan to assistant general manager for player personnel.

Then, late last May or in early June, Hennigan and his wife, Marissa, were sitting in a restaurant when his phone rang. It was Presti on the other line, telling Hennigan that Magic CEO Alex Martins had just called. Martins wanted to interview Hennigan for the Magic's GM job.

Hennigan couldn't believe it.

But it was true.

In the days that followed, Presti helped Hennigan organize his thoughts for the job interviews.

In June, the Magic hired Hennigan.

Hennigan, 30, and Presti, 36, still talk and text all the time, more about life in general than their jobs.

After seven years working together, Hennigan already has learned lessons from him.

"I think the most important thing I learned from Sam is to always put the best interests of the organization above everything else," Hennigan says. "It takes great discipline, conviction and patience to do that, but Sam has showcased an ability to do that as well as anyone."

jbrobbins@tribune.com. Read his blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/magicblog and follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.