To the surprise and even dismay of some of their fans, the Orlando Magic did not make any trades before Thursday's NBA trade deadline. Two hours after the deadline passed with no deals on Orlando's side, Magic general manager spoke to Scott Anez of ESPN 580.
"It's one of those things where you never know what's gonna happen on the deadline because you're depending on other teams to make deals," Hennigan said. "And sometimes deals work out and sometimes they don't."
Orlando's general manager said his team "explored some things" Thursday, but none of them merited pursuing more urgently. Regarding his activity on the day of the deadline, Hennigan said, "we did a lot more 'listening' than actively 'exploring.'"
In the days leading up to the deadline, rumors suggested that Orlando might be willing to deal Arron Afflalo, Glen Davis, and Jameer Nelson, its only veterans with contracts valued over the league-average salary. Now those three players, along with everyone else on the team, can rest easily knowing their future is secure through the end of the season.
"We value them, first and foremost," said Hennigan regarding those three veterans. "Certainly the league values those guys, as they do most of our players. I'm not gonna comment specifically on which teams had certain types of interest, and to what extent, but I can certainly say with confidence that all of our players have value around the league, based on the calls we received over the last few weeks."
As Anez pointed out, not making trades at the deadline doesn't preclude Orlando from making other moves down the line, perhaps in the summer. Hennigan agreed.
"There are always pockets to sort of explore trades and explore ways to add to the team," he said. "One of those, of course, is--today was the deadline, and the Draft is another, and of course the summertime when you get into free agency. You have primarily a window where you sign players, but certainly instead of signing players you can trade for players. I think there'll be a lot of opportunities."
Later in his discussion with Anez, Hennigan said using the NBA Draft figures prominently in Orlando's rebuilding plans.
"It's certainly a big part of how we plan to build this team," Hennigan said. "Anytime you have a chance to have a pick or two picks or three picks or whatever you have, in a Draft, it's a good opportunity. It's really up to us to make sure we maximize that opportunity." Orlando owns its own first-round pick in the 2014 Draft and it will also receive the less favorable first-round selection between the New York Knicks and the Denver Nuggets, a pick Orlando Pinstriped Post readers have termed the "WoNK," or "Worst of Nuggets/Knicks."
The Magic's general manager summed up his team's approach to the trade deadline thusly: "It kinda is what it is. I don't think we went into today expecting to do something. I don't think we went into today not expecting to do something."
Only time will tell how prudent Hennigan's measured approach really is, as it's impossible to fairly evaluate the Magic's neutral deadline stance without knowing what deals the league's other teams offered him. As ever, all Orlando can do is move forward. The difference now is that the group with which it'll do so is--barring a surprising free-agent pickup--set.