John Hammond

Eastern Notes: Holiday, LaVine, Hawks, Magic

The trade that brought Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee helped the Bucks reach the Finals. Holiday has struggled in the first two games of the series but Giannis Antetokounmpo is confident his teammate turn things around as the series shifts to Milwaukee, Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes.

“No matter what’s going on, you’ve got to stay aggressive and you cannot get in your feelings. It’s hard not to,” Antetokounmpo said. “You know, NBA Finals, 20,000 people booing you and all that, it’s kind of hard. … If there’s a game that you’re 3-for-12 or whatever the case might be and you can rebound the ball or get a steal or do something else to help the team win, that’s what it’s all about right now. I think he understands that. I know he’s going to be there when we need him the most and I don’t worry about it.”

Holiday shot 11-for-35 from the field during the two games in Phoenix.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Zach LaVine will discuss a contract extension with the Bulls soon and he anticipates a positive outcome, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times tweets. LaVine will make $19.5MM next season and then is due to become an unrestricted free agent. LaVine is currently with Team USA training for the Olympics.
  • On the surface, Jamahl Mosley won’t have a lot of pressure as the new head coach of the rebuilding Magic — provided that he finalizes an agreement — but he’ll face some obstacles, Josh Robbins of The Athletic writes. The current roster doesn’t have a clear No. 1 offensive option and that could create some chemistry issues. In the same piece, Robbins reveals that president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman and GM John Hammond are expected to receive contract extensions. Both have one year remaining on their deals and the length of their new contracts will likely coincide with Mosley’s deal.
  • Now that he’s had the interim tag removed, Hawks coach Nate McMillan knows that expectations will ramp up for a team that reached the conference finals, Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal Constitution writes. “Things just for whatever reason went right, and we had a lot of success,” he said. “We know that expectations are going to be higher for us next season. But the one thing we’ve tried to keep this team locked in on is just us. Not the outside noise and what people are saying we should be or shouldn’t be because at the beginning of the season, they weren’t saying what they’re saying now about us. So you can’t focus on that.”

Southeast Notes: Magic, Hornets, Wizards, Heat

The Magic have plenty of decisions to make this offseason as the team continues to build its roster. In a new mailbag, The Athletic’s Josh Robbins reflects on how the team may look to improve its personnel.

Robbins notes that finding shooters has not been a priority in the draft for Magic president of basketball Operations Jeff Weltman and general manager John Hammond, who in recent drafts have focused instead on adding athletic, lengthy prospects.

If the Magic plan to build around point guard Markelle Fultz, Robbins opines that it would behoove the team to at least look for a shooter in 2020 free agency. Robbins also stresses the import of trades to the Magic’s offseason.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • As the Hornets look to grab a blue-chip prospect in this month’s NBA draft, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer considers what sort of trade package could enable Charlotte to move up from the third pick in the draft.
  • With the ninth pick in the 2020 draft, the Wizards will have plenty of options at point guard. Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington and other Wizards analysts wonder if, with former All-Star John Wall on the roster, Washington should consider a player at that position, or if it would be better served looking to shore up its roster elsewhere. Wall has not played in an NBA game since December 26, 2018.
  • As we previously relayed, the Heat are doing their due diligence ahead of the November draft. The team has the No. 20 pick this year, and has extended in-person workout invitations to Texas Tech guard Jahmi’us Ramsey and Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley.

Southeast Rumors: Bamba, Vucevic, McGruder, Melvin

Magic lottery pick Mohamed Bamba will come off the bench and have his minutes monitored, John Denton of the team’s website reports. Coach Steve Clifford doesn’t feel the 20-year-old 7-footer is ready to jump into the lineup any time soon. “I want him to play 82 (games), and he’s going to be out there and playing quality minutes,” Clifford said. “But he’s just not ready to play starter’s minutes against starting players. (A reserve role) is a big part of how you bring a player along. He’s in a role that’s ideal for him.” The unspecified minutes restriction is designed to have him “playing his best in March and April,” Clifford added.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Magic can be expected to do their due diligence and gauge starting center Nikola Vucevic’s trade value, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Vucevic is in his walk year and will enter unrestricted free agency in July. Vucevic doesn’t fit president Jeff Weltman and GM John Hammond’s desire for length and versatility, Scotto adds.
  • Rodney McGruder and Derrick Jones Jr. have been effective as starters during the first two games, which further complicates the long-range plan for the Heat’s rotation, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel notes. With Dion Waiters, James Johnson, Justise Winslow and Wayne Ellington currently sidelined, finding enough playing time for rotation-worthy players hasn’t been an issue, Winderman continues. When those players return, Miami will have 13 players who arguably should be in the rotation, Winderman adds.
  • Former WNBA star Chasity Melvin has been named an assistant coach with the Greensboro Swarm, the Hornets’ G League affiliate, according to a Swarm press release. Melvin, who played 12 WNBA seasons, is the first female coach in franchise history. She was hired through the NBA Assistant Coaches Program.

Southeast Notes: Clifford, Gortat, Waiters, Hammond

Hornets coach Steve Clifford plans to put a greater emphasis on his personal health when he returns to work Tuesday, relays Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. The fifth-year coach had a health scare in November that forced him to step away from the team while doctors determined the source of the problem.

“The biggest thing for me is a lack of sleep. Stress-related,” Clifford said. “[The doctors’] biggest concern with me is [most executives] don’t travel as much as I do. That’s why they have been a little more careful — and rightfully so — about me coming back.”

Assistant Stephen Silas has been running the team in Clifford’s absence and will coach tomorrow’s game in Detroit before Clifford takes over at Tuesday’s practice.

There’s more news from the Southeast Division:

  • Wizards center Marcin Gortat said his quote about wanting to finish his career in Orlando was misinterpreted, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Gortat mentioned that he would like to return to the Magic so he could end his NBA journey where it started, but emphasized that he has no desire to be traded. “I want to play in Washington,” he said. “Just because I want to finish my career in a year-and-a-half doesn’t mean I don’t want to play in Washington. I think everything today was blown away a little too much.”
  • The Heat weren’t concerned about the $1.1MM bonus that Dion Waiters might have collected if he had remained healthy, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Waiters needed to play 70 games to receive the incentive, which won’t happen now that he is expected to have season-ending surgery on his left ankle. Miami put the bonus in his contract as a way to allow him to obtain his desired salary while leaving enough cap space to re-sign Wayne Ellington, Winderman explains, adding that the extra $1.1MM wouldn’t have pushed the team into the luxury tax.
  • Bucks coach Jason Kidd is confident that new GM John Hammond will eventually have success in Orlando, according to John Denton of NBA.com. Hammond constructed the current team in Milwaukee and hired Kidd before leaving for Orlando last summer. “Hammond is one of the best at putting teams together to win,’’ Kidd said. “You talk about a great individual at understanding college talent at a very high level, he’s a competitor and he wants to win and I enjoyed him when he was here [in Milwaukee].’’

Bucks GM Search Down To Two Candidates?

The Bucks will likely choose between their assistant GM, Justin Zanik, and Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas as their next GM, league sources informed Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Milwaukee could announce its choice as early as this week, Stein adds (Twitter links).

The position opened up when John Hammond was named the Magic’s GM last month. Zanik was hired as Hammond’s assistant last season after serving as an assistant GM in the Jazz organization for three years. Hammond had been the Bucks’ GM since 2008 after serving as the top assistant to former Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars.

Karnisovas was hired by Denver in 2013 and is currently working under Nuggets GM Tim Connelly. He was a candidate for the Nets’ GM job last season but Brooklyn ultimately chose Sean Marks.

Latest On Bucks’ GM Search

Milwaukee will begin formal interviews for its open GM position on Monday, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports.

The team has been granted permission to speak with Blazer assistant GM Bill Branch, Heat assistant GM Adam Simon, and Pistons assistant GM Pat Garrity, according to Wojnarowski.

The scribe adds that the Bucks have reached out to the Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon about the opening. Hammon has been working under coach Gregg Popovich for three seasons.

Milwaukee previously reached out to Indiana and gained permission to speak with the team’s VP of basketball operations Peter Dinwiddie. Wojnarowski adds that the franchise also has permission to speak with Denver assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas, Grizzlies VP of player personnel Ed Stefanski and Hawks special advisor Wes Wilcox.

Justin Zanik, who is currently running the team as its assistant GM, remains a strong candidate for the position. Zanik is gathering “significant support” inside and outside the organization, Wojnarowski writes. He joined the team with the expectation that he would be the GM-in-waiting once John Hammond‘s contract expired. Hammond recently left the franchise to become Orlando’s GM.

Bucks Plan ‘Broad Search’ For Next GM

The Bucks plan to examine numerous candidates for their newly open GM post, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com.

The team will conduct a “broad search” to find a replacement for John Hammond, who has taken over as the GM in Orlando. The effort will be led by veteran NBA executive Rod Thorn, who serves as a consultant to the Bucks.

Hammond had a year left on his contract in Milwaukee, but he was given permission to interview with the Magic earlier this month. Hammond’s hiring appeared inevitable once Orlando brought in his longtime colleague, Jeff Weltman, as its president of basketball operations.

Justin Zanik, Milwaukee’s assistant GM, will be among the candidates interviewed for the position and will receive strong consideration, a source told Stein. It has been reported in the past that Zanik was a GM-in-waiting who would take over once Hammond’s contract expired, but Stein states that the job was never promised to him

Hammond spent nine years as GM in Milwaukee, putting together a team that made four playoff appearances. His legacy will include drafting Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is on the verge of becoming one of the league’s best players.

The Bucks will be looking for a GM who can build on the young talent that Hammond assembled and produce a regular title contender.

Magic Hire John Hammond As GM

2:15 PM: Orlando has named Hammond its new GM, according to the team’s Twitter feed.

“John [Hammond] brings tremendous experience and is a great talent evaluator,” Weltman said today. “He has experiences 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.”

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports that Hammons’ new deal with the Magic will be for five years. The 62-year-old executive had one year remaining on his contract in Milwaukee, but ownership had indicated that it was unlikely to bring Hammond back beyond his current deal. The Bucks agreed to let him out of that contract in order to clear the way for Zanik to become the GM.

1:14 PM: Bucks GM John Hammond is expected to be named the Magic’s new GM, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). Orlando hired Hammond’s long-term colleague Jeff Weltman as team president earlier today.

Stein adds that if Hammond heads to Florida as expected, Justin Zanik will become the Bucks new GM. Milwaukee hired Zanik as the team’s assistant GM last summer. Prior to joining the Bucks, Zanik spent three years as the assistant GM of the Jazz.

Hammond has been the Bucks’ GM since 2008. He previously worked in the Pistons’ front office and he also had several assistant coaching stints in the NBA and college ranks.

Magic Choose Weltman As President of Basketball Operations

MAY 23, 9:31am: The Magic have announced the hiring of Weltman and will hold a press conference Wednesday, according to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel.

MAY 22, 6:54pm: Bucks GM John Hammond also interviewed for the job, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

5:43pm: Raptors GM Jeff Weltman has reached a five-year agreement with the Magic to become their President of Basketball Operations, sources told The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The deal was finalized in a meeting between Weltman and Orlando’s CEO Alex Martins, as well as the team’s ownership group, Wojnarowski continues. He replaces Rob Hennigan, who was fired last month.

The Magic had seriously considered making an offer to Cavaliers GM David Griffin, but focused their attention on Weltman in recent weeks, Wojnarowski adds. Weltman had been working under Raptors president Masai Ujiri. He previously had high-level jobs with the Bucks and Nuggets after starting his front-office career with the Clippers. He had been with the Raptors since 2013 after leaving the Bucks organization.

Weltman will have the ability to hire a GM who’ll report to him but Matt Lloyd, who had been serving as the interim GM, could remain with the organization, Wojnarowski adds.

The Raptors will likely fill the GM vacancy with assistant GM Bobby Webster, Toronto beat reporter Doug Smith tweets.

Magic Await Permission To Talk To David Griffin

The Magic have submitted a formal request to the Cavaliers to speak with GM David Griffin, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Griffin is believed to be the front-runner to become Orlando’s president of basketball operations, with a report last month saying he will be offered the job when he becomes available.

The Cavaliers have not responded to the request, Wojnarowski adds, and have the option of holding onto Griffin until his contract expires at the end of June. With free agency starting July 1st, it’s possible that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert will deny the interview request as a stall tactic to see if Orlando turns to someone else.

Sources tell Wojnarowski that Gilbert hasn’t made a substantive offer to try to keep Griffin, who built the Cavaliers into a championship team after LeBron James returned in 2014. James has been an outspoken advocate of keeping the GM, but his public comments seem to have had little effect on negotiations.

The Magic are getting ready to start interviewing other candidates for the position, including Hall of Famer Kevin McHale and Bucks GM John Hammond, who still has a year left on his contract in Milwaukee. Interim Magic GM Matt Lloyd has already been through the interview process and is highly thought of in the organization, according to Wojnarowski.

Orlando launched a front-office shakeup when the season ended, firing GM Rob Hennigan and assistant GM Scott Perry. The Magic plan to put control of the front office in the hands of a president, who will then hire the next GM.

The team faces competition from the Hawks, who recently relieved Wes Wilcox of GM duties. Griffin is seen as a candidate in Atlanta, along with former Pistons executive Joe Dumars, Rockets VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, Knicks director of player personnel Mark Hughes and former players and current TV analysts Chauncey Billups and Brent Barry. Wojnarowski reports that the Hawks have received permission to interview Rosas and Hughes.