The WeltHam Era will continue in Orlando.
Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman and general manager John Hammond have had their contracts extended by the team through the 2025-2026 season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.
CEO Alex Martins and Weltman negotiated deals, sources said. Ownership is pleased with the direction of team’s rebuild, including the hiring of coach Jamhal Mosley and drafting of first-round picks Franz Wagner, Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 10, 2022
The extensions come at a time when the Magic have the worst record in basketball at 7-34, though it’s an unfair representation of WeltHam’s full body of work in Orlando given the rebuild and the extensive injuries. Their tenure certainly has included some poor decisions, but the positive returns on last season’s trade deadline firesale, along with the success of lottery selections Franz Wagner and Cole Anthony likely bought Weltman and Hammond more time to lead the Magic’s rebuild.
The front office duo was hired by the Magic in 2017. After their first season, they replaced Frank Vogel with Steve Clifford and saw the Magic make a 17-win improvement. With Nikola Vucevic emerging into an All-Star, the team won 42 games and ended a seven-year playoff drought. The Magic again made the postseason the following season, falling in the first round for the second straight year.
It’s since been a free fall record-wise, leading to a full rebuild that began with the trades of Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier. In return, Weltman and Hammond brought in Wendell Carter Jr., the lottery pick that brought Wagner to Orlando, R.J. Hampton, a potential trade chip in Gary Harris and other draft picks. Those deals, along with acquiring Markelle Fultz essentially for nothing, all have mostly been viewed as a success.
But along the way, Weltman and Hammond have also had missteps. That included using their first draft pick on Mo Bamba, who has yet to develop into a player worthy of the No. 6 selection. They have overvalued wingspan, and undervalued second-round picks. They have constructed a roster with some redundant pieces while failing to properly address the team’s longtime shooting void. They brought in Al-Farouq Aminu as a free agent in what turned out to be a disastrous signing, though they fortunately were able to unload Aminu in the Vooch trade.
While the team is now headed for a potential 60-loss season, they do have an intriguing young core, they have Fultz and Jonathan Isaac (hopefully) returning in the not too distant future, and they are soon to have another pick at the top of the draft.
It will be up to WeltHam to help make all the pieces fit. And they’re going to get an opportunity to do so.