Weltman and Hammond should complement each other well. Although Weltman has 28 seasons of NBA experience, he has never led a basketball operations department until now. But Hammond headed the Bucks’ basketball operations department for the last nine years.
Hammond won the NBA Executive of the Year Award for the 2009-10 season, and the Bucks reached the playoffs four times during his tenure, including this past season.
To borrow a phrase from the world of politics, the addition of Hammond is akin to balancing a ticket.
Some answers on how Weltman plans to divide the responsibilities should come Wednesday morning, when the Magic hold a press conference to introduce Weltman.
But Weltman, 52, and Hammond, 62, know each other well.
They also have proven they work together effectively.
In 2008, Hammond hired Weltman to serve as the Bucks’ assistant general manager. Weltman remained with Milwaukee for five seasons before the Toronto Raptors poached Weltman.
Weltman and Hammond previously spent one season together with the Detroit Pistons — Weltman as the director of basketball administration, Hammond as the vice president of basketball operations.
This time, the dynamic will change somewhat: In Orlando, Hammond will report to Weltman. And Hammond also had been a candidate for the job Weltman eventually got with the Magic.
Under Hammond, the Bucks acquired Khris Middleton in a trade with the Pistons following Middleton’s first season. Middleton has become a knockdown shooter and dependable scorer.
In 2013, the Bucks drafted Giannis Antetokounmpo 15th overall, a spot where teams can afford to take a risk. Antetokounmpo made his first All-Star team this past season and has blossomed into one of the league’s most promising young players.
And last year, the Bucks used the 36th overall pick to select shooting guard Malcolm Brogdon — who is one of three finalists for the Rookie of the Year Award.
Hammond’s record includes a few blemishes. Detractors argue that he overpaid for center Greg Monroe when he signed Monroe to a three-year deal worth approximately $51 million. But Hammond’s supporters likely would counter that the Bucks must overpay to lure players to Milwaukee.
The Magic will need to make their own luck in order to break their five-year playoff drought. The franchise lacks a cornerstone talent and doesn’t have anyone on its roster who has made an All-Star team. Meanwhile, the Magic received only the No. 6 pick in the NBA Draft Lottery to go along with the 25th, 33rd and 35th overall selections. And without making at least one savvy trade, the Magic could have just $15 million in cap space available to spend on free agents this summer.