By John Denton
May 23, 2017
ORLANDO – John Hammond, who previously teamed with new Orlando President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman for six seasons in Detroit and Milwaukee, has been hired as the Magic’s new General Manager.
Hammond, GM of the Bucks for the past nine years, won the NBA’s Executive of the Year award for the 2009-10 season while working in Milwaukee and alongside of Weltman. More recently, Hammond was the architect of the Milwaukee team nailed draft picks Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kris Middleton and Malcom Brogdon, hired head coach Jason Kidd and reached the NBA playoffs two of the past three seasons.
“We are very excited to join Jeff (Weltman) 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.’’
Weltman was formally hired on Tuesday morning as the Magic’s new President of Basketball Operations. Weltman, who was previously the GM with the Toronto Raptors, has worked in the NBA for 28 seasons at various levels of various front offices.
“John (Hammond) brings tremendous experience and is a great talent evaluator,’’ Weltman said in a statement. “He has experience in everything from day-to-day operations to player development. He built a great team in Milwaukee, and won a championship while in Detroit. We are very fortunate to have him as part of the Magic family.’’
Weltman and Hammond will be introduced at a news conference at the Amway Center at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. Magic fans can tune in for coverage on OrlandoMagic.com, Facebook Live and via the Fox Sports Go app.
The hiring of Hammond, 62, reunites the two highly respected basketball executives in Orlando and gives the Magic a plethora of experience in the front office. The two assuredly will team up on decisions regarding trades, draft picks and staff hires.
The Magic hoped to have a new leadership in place before the June 22nd NBA Draft. Orlando has the sixth, 25th, 33rd and 35th picks in next month’s draft.
The front office openings came about when the Magic fired GM Rob Hennigan and assistant GM Scott Perry on April 13 – a day after Orlando ended a disappointing 29-53 season. Assistant GM Matt Lloyd had been running the Magic’s draft prep in the weeks since the departure and was once a candidate for the full-time GM gig.
Instead, the Magic went with Hammond – someone who has a track record of success, a wealth of experience and a strong working relationship with Weltman.
Hammond has 35 years of basketball experience in coaching and in the front office. He was spent 26 years in the NBA – 15 of those resulting in playoff berths.
Prior to his time in Milwaukee, Hammond spent seven seasons as vice president of basketball operations with the Pistons. During his time with Detroit, the Pistons were 330-158 (.676), won the 2003 NBA Championship, reached the Eastern Conference Finals six consecutive times (2003-08) and got back to the NBA Finals in 2004. In addition to his time as vice president of basketball operations, Hammond also served as director of player personnel, scouting director and assistant coach in two stints with the Pistons.
Hammond was hired as GM of the Bucks in 2008. He won the Executive of the Year award a season later after helping Milwaukee jump from 34 to 46 victories.
Hammond and Weltman worked together in Detroit during the 2007-08 season and in Milwaukee from 2008-13. Weltman left for Toronto’s executive vice president of basketball operations position in 2013. Prior to this past season, he was named Toronto’s GM. He was a part of a Toronto franchise that reached the postseason each of the last four years, including a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2016.
More recently, Hammond registered major scores with his 2013 drafting Antetokounmpo (15th overall), his hiring of Kidd in 2014 and picking Brogdon, a 2017 Rookie of the Year finalist who was drafted in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft. The Bucks were 15-67 in 2013-14, but drafted Jabari Parker with the No. 2 pick and have been in the NBA’s postseason twice in the past three years.
“I want to thank the ownership in Milwaukee, Wes Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan, for their support and I certainly wish them well,’’ Hammond said in the statement.
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