Corey Evans

Thunder Promote Rob Hennigan, Will Dawkins, Others

Following the spring departure of vice president of basketball operations Troy Weaver, the Thunder have announced a series of promotions within their front office, including the filling of Weaver’s old role. Those promotions are as follows:

  • Rob Hennigan to VP of basketball operations
  • Will Dawkins to VP of basketball operations
  • Jesse Gould to VP of strategy and analytics
  • Wynn Sullivan to VP of strategy and design
  • Brandon Barnett to director of player personnel
  • Nazr Mohammed to pro personnel evaluator and GM of the Oklahoma City Blue
  • Paul Johnson to assistant GM of the OKC Blue

The Thunder also confirmed the previously-reported hiring of former analyst Corey Evans as an amateur scout.

“We are proud of the continued evolution of our Executive Team and the promotions of many long-tenured Thunder team members,” executive VP of basketball operations Sam Presti said in a statement. “These individuals have demonstrated a consistent commitment to our vision for Thunder basketball on and off the floor, and we are grateful for their contributions. The continued leadership development of our entire staff is essential to our focus of sustaining an elite basketball infrastructure.”

The promotions of Hennigan and Dawkins are most notable, as they appear poised to take on more senior positions in the front office following Weaver’s exit. Hennigan is in his second stint with the franchise, having left Oklahoma City to become Orlando’s GM for five years from 2012-17, while Dawkins has risen through OKC’s basketball operations department for over a decade after starting as an intern in 2008.

Mohammed’s new role is also worth noting. The former NBA center first joined Oklahoma City’s front office in December 2017 and has gone through an “extensive post-playing transition program for former players” during his three years as an executive, per today’s announcement from the team.

Western Notes: Connelly, Jazz, Evans, Donovan

The Nuggets have built a contender without being a destination for top free agents, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report writes. President of basketball operations Tim Connelly said the team needed to draft well and make wise trades to get to this point.

“Let’s be honest, we’re not getting the same meetings New York’s getting or L.A.’s getting,” Connelly said. “So how can we combat that? How can we try to chart our own course, something we can control a bit more?” The Nuggets drafted five rotation players, including stars Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, while never having a pick higher than No. 7 overall.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Jazz don’t have much money to throw around in free agency as they look to upgrade their roster, Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News writes. On the flip side, they could lock up Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert to long-term contract extensions and they should be able to find ways to bolster their bench.
  • The Thunder own 13 first-round picks in the next seven drafts, which is one reason why they have hired national recruiting analyst Corey Evans, Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reports. Evans, 30, has built a reputation as one of the most connected young analysts in both high school and college basketball, Thamel adds. He’s expected to be as an amateur evaluation scout.
  • Billy Donovan‘s ability to coach different playing styles and instill confidence in young players are some of the reasons why he might be a good fit for the Pelicans’ job, according to The Athletic’s William Guillory. Donovan’s emphasis on defenses and toughness are also traits that could make him attractive to New Orleans’ front office. Guillory also looks at reasons why the team might pass on the former Thunder coach.