Penn, the Blazers' salary-cap expert under then-GM Kevin Pritchard before both were fired in rapid succession ahead of the 2010 draft, was among those who recently interviewed for the Magic job. Penn has been working for ESPN as an NBA analyst. Pritchard is an executive with the Indiana Pacers.
Pritchard also is among Orlando's targets, and a reunion of the duo who had so much success in Portland could be among the options Magic CEO Alex Martins is considering. Pritchard and Penn are friends, worked together effectively with the Blazers and have intersecting skill sets. Pritchard's strength is personnel, and while Penn also has a strong background evaluating players, his key skills are creative cap management, the ability to put together complicated, multi-team trades and long-term roster and payroll planning. All of those could prove valuable to the Magic if, in fact, they wind up having to trade Dwight Howard this summer.
Penn's deep understanding of how the basketball business and overall business of an NBA team have to work together is right up Martins' alley.
Former Hornets GM Jeff Bower, Spurs executive Dennis Lindsey and Thunder executives Troy Weaver and Rob Hennigan also are in the mix for the Magic job. The team is on track to have a new GM in place with 7-10 days to spare before the June 28 draft.
The Clippers, who parted ways with GM Neil Olshey Monday as Olshey took the GM job in Portland, are said to be considering former Nuggets and Nets executive Kiki Vandeweghe to replace Olshey. Clippers president Andy Roeser said in a statement released by the team Monday that the search for Olshey's replacement already is under way.