Jeff Weltman is doing the Toronto Raptors one more favor. Kind of.
The Orlando Magic hired Weltman, previously the Raptors’ general manager, away this week, making him their president of basketball operations. As Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports, the Magic will send the Raptors a 2018 second-round pick as compensation. Wojnarowski adds that the bump in title and “significant pay raise” the Raptors gave Weltman at this time last year was enough leverage to land the pick.
UPDATE: The Raptors have confirmed the move.
The Magic own both their own pick and the Los Angeles Lakers’ second-round pick next year, and the Raptors will receive the lower (least favorable) of the two selections. Since the Raptors don’t own their own second rounder thanks to the P.J. Tucker acquisition, this refills their future draft pick stock, both as useful assets and trade currency. That pick should be pretty useful, considering the Lakers and Magic both figure to be fringe playoff teams at best, barring dramatic ascensions.
There’s a good chance the Raptors just landed a pick in the mid-to-late 30s for an outbound executive, which, while Weltman is a big loss, is a nice piece of business. The last time Masai Ujiri (and Weltman) had a pick in the second round, they landed Norman Powell, for example. His track record selecting in the second round is spotty, as is nearly every executives, but it’s a really nice asset to have, better than their own pick likely would have stood to be.
The Raptors are in the process of replacing Weltman, and Wojnarowski reports that assistant general manager Bobby Webster is the leading candidate, as we originally speculated here. The 32-year-old Webster, whom the Raptors plucked from the NBA league office in the summer of 2013, has been considered a rising front office star around the league for some time. While initially a salary cap expert and vice president of basketball strategy, he’s grown to lend a hand on the scouting and personnel side as well, and last summer’s restructuring seemed at least in part aimed to keep Webster on an upward track to prevent losing him. Dan Tolzman would likely figure to assume Webster’s role as assistant general manager in the event Webster moves up another rung.
Ujiri spoke about Weltman’s departure with media on Tuesday.
UPDATE II: In an interesting additional note, Shams Charania of The Vertical reveals that a provision in the deal will prevent the Raptors and Magic from trading players with each other until the end of the 2017-18 season. It’s probably language that wouldn’t matter all that much, anyway, but it precludes Ujiri and Weltman from leveraging their friendship for a calendar year. As Matt Moore put it, “they built a Masai Ujiri firewall.” This is probably mostly nothing, but it’s at least a little telling that it got put in writing (perhaps by the NBA, not the Magic).