Jeff Weltman Rumors
May 17 at 9:06am CST By Luke Adams
Although he played well in this year's NCAA tournament, Vander Blue was one of the more surprising names on 2013's early entrant list, considering he's widely viewed as a second-round pick at best. But Blue told reporters at this week's draft combine in Chicago that he's confident in his decision, and expects to surprise anyone who doesn't think he'll produce in the NBA.
"Nobody expected [former Marquette teammate] Jimmy [Butler] to be who he is today with the Bulls,"
said Blue, according to Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times. "Nobody probably expects me to do any good in the NBA. But I
know how to go about my business. I’m more than confident."
After discussing Blue's decision to declare for the draft and passing along a few of his quotes, Woelfel's latest column explores a few other topics of note. Here are the highlights:
- Woelfel reiterates that Jerry Sloan still has a desire to return to coaching, but not with the Bucks, as we heard last night.
- In addition to the interviews we heard about yesterday, the Bucks also met with Jamaal Franklin and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, says Woelfel.
- Woelfel hears from NBA officials that Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman may have had a verbal agreement in place with Suns president Lon Babby to become the team's GM, but that owner Robert Sarver nixed the deal. Phoenix ultimately ended up hiring Ryan McDonough.
- According to Woelfel, there's a "growing sentiment" that J.J. Redick will sign with a team besides the Bucks this summer.
- Nerlens Noel, the favorite to be the No. 1 pick next month, still hasn't decided on an agent, says Woelfel. One report last month suggested Noel may become Jay-Z's first basketball client.
May 7 at 8:40am CST By Luke Adams
Coming into the 2012/13 season, the Lakers and Clippers were receiving most of the attention out west, but with four Western Conference teams still alive, the only Pacific team still standing is Golden State. Stephen Curry and the Warriors played in perhaps the best game of the 2013 postseason last night in San Antonio, but ultimately couldn't hold off the Spurs, who escaped with a 129-127 victory. As we hold out hope that the rest of the series lives up to the standard set by Game One, let's check out some other notes from around the Pacific....
- ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports (via Twitter) that "rumblings persist" about the Suns holding off on their decision on a new general manager because they're hoping to land Grant Hill for the job. Stein adds in a second tweet that if Hill can't be persuaded to return to Phoenix, the Suns figure to decide between Celtics assistant GM Ryan McDonough and Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman. Charles Barkley didn't receive an interview for the position, says Stein (via Twitter).
- Even if the Lakers could save a bit of money by declining Jodie Meeks' 2013/14 option and replacing him with a minimum-salary player, Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times (Sulia link) expects the team to bring back Meeks, who could be L.A.'s starting shooting guard on opening night.
- Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times examines the futures of Chris Paul and Vinny Del Negro in L.A., noting that the Clippers and Del Negro discussed an extension a couple times early in the season, but ultimately elected to wait until season's end.
May 6 at 5:46pm CST By Zach Links
Here's the latest news on coaching and GM vacancies courtesy of CBSSports.com's Ken Berger..
- It's too early to identify a front-runner in the Sixers search, but things sound promising for Warriors assistant Mike Malone. Philly execs have contacted the Warriors multiple times about Malone, including several conversations with consultant Jerry West. In fact, the Sixers are consulting players who've played under both Malone and Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer to get a feel for how the two candidates differ, according to one source.
- To the surprise of some rival executives, the Sixers' coaching search is being led by GM Tony DiLeo, whose contract expires this summer. With team president Rod Thorn moving into a smaller role and DiLeo's contract expiring, rival execs expect the Sixers seek out a new decision maker as well. In fact, that process has already begun through back-channel conversations, one person contacted on the Sixers' behalf told Berger.
- Nets star Deron Williams has been vocal in his support of Jerry Sloan for the job but also has a strong relationship with Jeff Hornacek. In addition to the Sixers, the former Jazz sharpshooter has attracted interest from the Bobcats, Suns, and Bucks, sources told Berger.
- The Suns are in the advanced stages of their GM search and the latest word is that Celtics assistant GM Ryan McDonough's is gaining momentum. Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman has been viewed as the favorite in some circles, however, and the Suns also have interviewed Spurs exec (and former Knicks GM) Scott Layden.
- The Clippers are expected to can Vinny Del Negro and Hawks are expected to let Larry Drew go, league sources said. The Clippers are said to be "exploring all options," while the Hawks' decision on Drew's future is expected "sooner than later," sources said. It is widely believed that GM Danny Ferry prefers to install his own head coach in Atlanta.
May 2 at 5:40pm CST By Luke Adams
As we wait to see if the Warriors can finish off the Nuggets tonight and set up a second-round date with the Spurs, let's check in on a few items out of the Pacific Division....
- Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman remains the frontrunner for the Suns' general manager opening, writes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. Weltman is one of four candidates to have been interviewed by the team so far, according to Coro. Former Pacers GM David Morway, Spurs assistant GM Scott Layden, and Celtics assistant GM Ryan McDonough are the other interviewees so far.
- Potential Kings investor Chris Kelly tells David Bienick of KCRA in Sacramento that the Sacramento group expects to put half of its offer for the Kings into escrow by Friday. At this point, the group is still working with the NBA rather than the Maloofs, Kelly tells Bienick (Twitter links).
- In his NBA AM piece for HoopsWorld, Derek Page wonders if it's time for the Lakers to start rebuilding.
- After missing his exit interview earlier this week, Antawn Jamison had it today with GM Mitch Kupchak, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com (via Twitter). Jamison seems highly unlikely to return to the Lakers next season.
April 30 at 12:03pm CST By Luke Adams
The Rockets avoided being the second Western Conference team to be swept out of the first round last night, defeating the Thunder to send the series back to Oklahoma City. While we wait for that series to resume on Wednesday, tonight's schedule features a pair of Western matchups, including a chance for the Warriors to pull off a first round upset and eliminate the Nuggets. Here are a few updates out of the conference as we look forward to the evening's games:
- Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (via Sulia) confirms reports that Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman is the frontrunner to be the next Suns' general manager, adding that president Lon Babby was eyeing Weltman back before the team hired Lance Blanks. Bucher also echoes another rumor we heard recently, writing that the valuation of the Kings has owner Robert Sarver wondering "if it's time to cash out."
- As he continues his look at the Mavericks' free-agents-to-be, Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com predicts that Anthony Morrow will sign a veteran's minimum contract this summer.
- Antawn Jamison, who underwent wrist surgery today after missing his exit interview yesterday, isn't expected to return to the Lakers next year, writes Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times.
- Nolan Smith won't be back with the Trail Blazers next season, but he's looking forward to free agency, as he tells Susan Bible of HoopsWorld.
April 27 at 4:20pm CST By Chuck Myron
The Bucks have granted assistant GM Jeff Weltman permission to interview for the Suns vacant GM job, reports Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic first identified Weltman as a candidate for the position, and Chris Broussard named him as the frontrunner this week. Weltman was a finalist for the Phoenix job in 2010, when the team instead hired Lance Blanks, who on Monday parted ways with the Suns.
Lon Babby, the Phoenix president of basketball operations, will allow the new GM to make a decision on the team's head coach, Gardner reports. Interim Lindsey Hunter currently holds that job, though he'll interview for the Pistons coaching vacancy amid speculation he could be on the way out.
Babby promises the offseason will be "a summer of analytics" for the franchise. That could mean candidates like Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren or Rockets executive vice president of basketball operations Sam Hinkie could be considered for the Suns GM job, though that's just my speculation.
Weltman joined the Bucks along with GM John Hammond in 2008. He reportedly was one of several who engaged in preliminary discussions with the Clippers about their GM opening last summer.
April 25 at 10:48am CST By Luke Adams
Cavs fans worried about what the hiring of Mike Brown might mean for the team's potential pursuit of LeBron James in 2014 shouldn't put too much stock in the move one way or the other, says Chris Broussard in his latest ESPN.com piece (Insider-only link). Brown's return to Cleveland doesn't mean LeBron is coming back too, but it also shouldn't be a deterring factor, according to Broussard, who notes that there will be plenty of other factors in play over the next 14 months. The ESPN.com scribe explores that topic and a number of others in his article, so let's round up the highlights....
- The Cavs are hoping to upgrade the roster before next summer in an attempt to lure James (or another impact free agent, presumably). As we heard from Adrian Wojnarwoski of Yahoo! Sports yesterday, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, and draft picks could be dangled as trade chips. Broussard mentions LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love as potential targets.
- The Bucks would like to keep all three of their free agent guards this summer, but recognize that they'll probably only be able to retain two, with Brandon Jennings the player most likely to stay put.
- Several sources around the league believed Lance Blanks, who the Suns fired earlier this week, was a scapegoat for the team's poor season. According to Broussard, the widely panned signing of Michael Beasley was Lon Babby's call, and Blanks had "little to do with" Alvin Gentry's firing as well.
- Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman is viewed as the frontrunner for the Suns' GM opening, says Broussard.
- Former Suns assistant Elston Turner may join Rick Adelman's staff in Minnesota, with an understanding that if Adelman steps down, Turner would take over as the Timberwolves' coach. We've heard in the past that Adelman "badly wanted" Turner on his staff when he first took the Wolves' job.
- While Kevin McHale isn't expected to step down as Rockets head coach anytime soon, Broussard hears from sources that the team would have "strong interest" in Stan Van Gundy if McHale left.
April 24 at 4:49pm CST By Luke Adams
Having parted ways with general manager Lance Blanks this week, the Suns are the first NBA team this offseason seeking a new GM. And according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, team president Lon Babby and the Suns have already lined up a number of potential candidates for the job.
Coro reports that Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman, former Pacers GM David Morway and
former Lakers assistant GM Ronnie Lester are viewed as viable contenders for the Phoenix opening. Assistant GMs Ryan McDonough
(Celtics), Wes Wilcox (Hawks) and Troy Weaver (Thunder) are
potential candidates as well.
Weltman and Morway have a bit of history either with the Suns or the Phoenix area, as Weltman was a finalist when the team hired Blanks as GM in 2010. Morway, meanwhile, graduated from the University of Arizona.
According to Babby, the team is unlikely to make a promotion from within the organization, but previous GM experience isn't necessarily a qualification for the job. Still, Babby noted that he can't imagine "a first-rate talent evaluator would not have front-office experience." As Coro points out, if front-office experience is a requirement, that would eliminate a couple popular speculative candidates, in former Suns players Grant Hill and Charles Barkley.
According to Coro, members of the Suns organization have hoped to see Hill eventually return to the team in a management role. As for Barkley, he has suggested before that he could have interest in a GM role with the Suns, and reiterated today on XTRA Sports 910 in Phoenix that he hoped to receive a chance to run an NBA team at some point (Twitter link via Eric Sorenson). However, as Coro writes, the Suns' GM position would likely mean a pay cut and a workload increase for Barkley.
"I think the job requires rowing the boat every single day and it’s an
all-consuming job and my impression is that he has a pretty full and
good life," Babby said of Barkley. "Taking on a challenge like this might be
something he really doesn’t want if he knew what it entails."
June 30 at 8:19pm CST By Chuck Myron
Clippers director of player personnel Gary Sacks is gaining support from others within the organization to take over the GM job vacated earlier this month by Neil Olshey, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Sacks has teamed with Clippers president Andy Roeser and coach Vinny Del Negro to run L.A.'s front office since Olshey left.
Sacks is one of a handful of candidates under consideration by Roeser, who's handling the GM search. Only former Nuggets GM and current television sideline reporter Kiki Vandeweghe has received an interview so far, Shelburne says, but Roeser has had "preliminary conversations" with Jim Paxson, Larry Harris, Jeff Weltman and Tony DiLeo. Roeser has also had preliminary conversations with Cavs assistant GM David Griffin, but he withdrew his name from consideration on Monday, Shelburne notes.
It's not clear whether Sacks, who's been a part of the Clippers organization for 17 years, would be hired as a long-term solution in the GM position or as someone who would have to prove himself, similar to Olshey, who worked on a month-to-month basis.