MIAMI — Jeff Weltman, who for the past four seasons helped build the Toronto Raptors into a solid NBA playoff squad, was named Tuesday as the Orlando Magic’s president of basketball operations.
After five seasons of missing the playoffs and six without a winning record, the Raptors have reached the postseason the past four campaigns, losing to Cleveland in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals and again in the second round earlier this month.
The Magic hope for a similar revival under Weltman after missing the playoffs with losing records the past five seasons, the longest playoff drought in the team’s 28-year history.
The team fired general manager Rob Hennigan and assistant general manager Scott Perry last month after a 29-53 season.
“Jeff brings tremendous experience and a team-first approach,” Magic chief executive Alex Martins said. “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.”
Weltman, 52, reportedly inked a five-year deal. His 28 years of NBA experience includes stints as the Los Angeles Clippers player personnel director, Detroit Pistons basketball administration director, Denver Nuggets assistant general manager and Milwaukee Bucks executive vice president of basketball operations.
Frank Vogel, who took over as Orlando’s coach a year ago, will remain in that role.
John Hammond, who worked with Weltman for five seasons in Milwaukee, was named the Magic’s new general manager. Hammond won the 2010 NBA Executive of the Year award while serving as the Bucks’ general manager.
The Magic have four of the first 35 picks in the June 22 NBA Draft, including the sixth selection overall, and the team has $14 million in salary cap room to spend on free agents when dealmaking begins July 1.
© Agence France-Presse
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