Jeff Weltman Rumors
The Orlando Magic have signed guard Jalen Suggs and forward Franz Wagner, President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deals are not disclosed. Suggs (fifth overall) and Wagner (eighth overall) were both selected in the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft. Suggs (6’4”, 205, 6/3/01) played and started in 30 games last season as a freshman at Gonzaga University, averaging 14.4 ppg., 5.3 rpg., 4.5 apg. and 1.90 stlpg. in 29.0 minpg., while shooting .503 (155-308) from the floor.
Orlando also has an advantage that no other franchise has. The Magic have access to artificial intelligence-powered body recognition technology that allows them to collect data about college players’ tendencies, strengths and weaknesses via game broadcasts. That technology, developed by the company Stats Perform, is called AutoStats. It takes a television broadcast of any college game and tracks the movements of players on the court and the location of the basketball.
All NBA teams are trying to eke out competitive advantages, and the Magic are no exception. The Magic have spent years trying to hone their analysis of player-tracking data, and they are reluctant to share any bit of information that possibly could help another team. “When Jeff came aboard, he made a very intentional effort to enhance our capabilities on the analytics front and hiring the best staff,” Bencs said. “Investing in research endeavors such as this has really allowed us to do very high-quality work. I do think that it has already given us advantages, but the way I’m looking at it, it’s just going to continue to grow this competitive advantage as we do more and more and really understand this data and how to utilize it. We’re getting smarter every day.”
Jamahl Mosley has been named head coach of the Orlando Magic, President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman announced today. Mosley becomes the 15th head coach in franchise history. “We would like to welcome Jamahl and his family to the Magic family,” said Weltman. “Within the NBA coaching community, Jamahl is considered a rising star. His coaching path is rooted in player development. He is a communicator and connector, and we look forward to him leading our group.”
Weltman and general manager John Hammond each have one year remaining on their contracts, but most league insiders believe it is a foregone conclusion that Magic CEO Alex Martins and the franchise owners, the DeVos family, will extend those contracts or sign Weltman and Hammond to new deals. If Martins and the DeVos family didn’t have full faith in Weltman and Hammond, then they never would have gone along with the risky plan to rebuild the team from the ground up. Some league insiders believe the length of Weltman’s and Hammond’s new deals will align exactly with the contract Mosley is expected to sign. In other words, if Weltman and Hammond have two years added to their existing deals (giving them three more years in total), then Mosley would receive a three-year contract. And so on.
Along with Unseld, the Magic’s wide-ranging search also included interviews with San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon, Phoenix Suns assistant coach Willie Green, University of Memphis coach Penny Hardaway and up to half a dozen additional candidates, sources said. “This job has tremendous growth potential, which is very attractive,” Weltman said at the very beginning of his coaching search. “It has organizational strength and ownership behind it. We’re moving into a new practice facility next year. There are a lot of good things happening here. Most importantly, we have a lot of bright, young, talented players.”
In his first interview since his surprising departure as the Magic’s head coach last month, Clifford says he has no ill will whatsoever over the philosophical differences with Magic management and the mutual parting of the ways. In fact, he praised his working relationship with Jeff Weltman, the Magic’s president of basketball operations, and team general manager John Hammond.