As the Orlando Magic went through the process to replace the fired Rob Hennigan with a new head of basketball operations, three candidates rose to the top of the list. Cleveland Cavaliers‘ General Manager David Griffin, Milwaukee Bucks‘ General Manager John Hammond and Toronto Raptors‘ General Manager Jeff Weltman.
When Cleveland refused Alex Martins permission to speak with Griffin, that left the other two. In addition, according to WKMG Sports Director David Pingalore, Griffin “was looking to be paid 6m a year.” That’s $6 MILLION.
So, which of those two would the Magic look to bring to Orlando?
“Jeff Weltman brings tremendous experience and a team-first approach to our president of basketball operations position,” said Martins. “Jeff is a strategic thinker and strong leader, has great relationships in the industry and will bring a collaborative approach to our basketball operations leadership.”
Though it was expected, the Magic made it official on Tuesday by revealing Frank Vogel would return as head coach.
The hiring of Hammond came as fast as “sorry, we’re going with Weltman, but would you like to be our GM?” It did not take long for the veteran executive long to accept.
Besides, the two worked together years ago when Weltman was hired as the Bucks’ Assistant General Manager reporting to Hammond. Orlando’s new general manager is pleased to be rejoining his former colleague.
“We are very excited to join Jeff and be a part of the team in Orlando,” Hammond said in a statement. “The Magic are a first-class organization all the way around and we look forward to this tremendous opportunity.”
The feeling is mutual.
“John brings tremendous experience and is a great talent evaluator,” Weltman said in his statement. “He has experience in everything from day-to-day operations to player development.”
Mr. Weltman, would you mind asking Hammond a question? Could he bring Giannis Antetokounmpo with him?
Never hurts to ask.
With their front office staff now settled, the Magic can now focus on next month’s NBA draft. There was no word on the immediate future of Assistant General Manager Matt Lloyd, who served as interim GM since Hennigan’s firing.