Magic's new look extends into the basketball operations department

You really do need a scorecard to figure out who works for the Orlando Magic these days.

And not just with the roster.

The organization's basketball operations department has undergone a sweeping transformation over the last few months — a metamorphosis that extends beyond the hiring of new general manager Rob Hennigan, new head coach Jacque Vaughn and a new assistant-coaching staff.

The department has grown from 26 employees last season under former general manager Otis Smith to 33 employees this season under Hennigan. The new regime includes two assistant general managers; there was only one assistant general manager before. The restructured department also features someone who will focus on salary-cap management and on the minutiae of the collective bargaining agreement. Another new position is devoted to developing analytical systems.

Hennigan declined to comment for this article, but it appears that he has somewhat modeled the department on those of his two prior organizations, the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Spurs and the Thunder are small-market franchises that are renowned for making the most efficient use of their draft picks and resources.

Vaughn hails from the Spurs organization. He played his final three seasons in San Antonio, and he spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich.

"For me, the Spurs organization was the ultimate merging of coaching staff and management," Vaughn said. "There was a mutual respect that I think needs to be there for success in an organization. There was communication, and those things have to be present, in my opinion, for success."

Of course, it remains to be seen whether the structure Hennigan has put into place will work — or whether the people he has hired are the best fits for their respective jobs.

But one of the recurrent criticisms of the Magic's basketball operations department in past years was that Smith, former assistant general manager Dave Twardzik and the coaching staff didn't have enough support.

The new-look basketball operations department is 26 percent larger than it was last season, but there is a hidden irony. Magic CEO Alex Martins told the Orlando Sentinel that the department's current overall salary — even with more employees — is less than it was last season.

The Magic keep the salaries of their general manager and coaches a closely guarded secret, but it would make logical sense that their first-year general manager, their first-year head coach and their young assistant-coaching staff are being paid less than their more experienced predecessors were paid.

The cost savings likely enabled the organization to add more positions.

The duties within the front office also have changed.

Smith and former director of player development Adonal Foyle traveled with the team to almost every road game. Twardzik spent much of his time on the road scouting and prepping for the draft.

Hennigan will spend less time on the road with the team than Smith did, but Hennigan also will do some scouting.

Assistant general manager Scott Perry will do the bulk of the traveling with the team to its away games and will be heavily involved in scouting. Meanwhile, assistant general manager Matt Lloyd likely will manage all of the organization's scouting departments and information gathering.

Perry and Lloyd were Hennigan's first two significant hires.

Those hires marked the start of a radical transformation. Read his blog at and follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.

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