Archive for April 18th, 2008

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker is confident the Utah Jazz will win the first round of the NBA playoffs against the Houston Rockets.  He’s so confident that he’s engaged in a friendly wager with Houston Mayor Bill White
 
The Mayors have each offered the other a treat from their city if the opposing team loses the series.  If the Jazz win the series, Mayor White will send Mayor Becker pecan pies made by Good Company Barbecue in Houston – one pie for every game the Jazz win over the Rockets.
 
If the Rockets win the series, Mayor Becker will send Mayor White two Ski Salt Lake Super Passes. The passes entitle the Houston Mayor to two all-day passes at any of Salt Lake City’s four ski resorts; Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, or Solitude, as well as round-trip travel on UTA city buses, ski buses, and TRAX light-rail during his trip to Salt Lake City.  Mayor Becker has also offered to ski with Mayor White during his visit.
 
“Salt Lakers skied on Memorial Day last year and enjoyed watching the Jazz play past that weekend, well after the Rockets ended their season. I think the Jazz are going to take this series again. I’m looking forward to enjoying those pecan pies from Mayor White when they do,” remarked Becker.
 
Mayor White had this to say, “My wager, Mayor Becker, we’re coming back at you again this year, Last year was a close series. They scraped by.  But I’m gonna bet, I’m gonna place a wager on this game. My wager is gonna be if I lose you are going to get some pecan pie from Good Company Barbecue. It’s good Texas food.”
 
To which Mayor Becker replied, “It’s going to be a great series, The Rockets had a run that was unbelievable in the middle of the season and we’re glad they got that out of their system. We feel like Utah has proven itself. It’s time for Houston to step to the plate.”

The NBA Board of Governors today endorsed the recommendation of the NBA Relocation Committee and approved the move of the SuperSonics  from  Seattle to Oklahoma City for the 2008-09 season, subject to a resolution of the pending litigation between the Sonics and the city of  Seattle  that  removes any requirement for the team to play at KeyArena for the next two seasons.

“The  support  for the NBA demonstrated by the fans, government leaders and business  community  of  Oklahoma City over the last three years has been extraordinary,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “The Board of Governors is confident that that level of local support will result in success for the Sonics franchise in Oklahoma.”

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports: After NBA owners voted 28-2 on Friday to approve the Sonics’ relocation to Oklahoma City, team chairman Clay Bennett said he’d done everything possible to make things work in Seattle and remains hopeful of a negotiated lease buyout. The city of Seattle could delay the team’s departure for two years by winning the pending federal court battle over the lease’s enforcement, but Bennett and his Oklahoma-based ownership group now have a green light from the league to move as soon as that situation is settled… Stern said the vote was 28-2, with the two owners against being Dallas’ Mark Cuban and Portland’s Paul Allen.

Bucks name Jeff Weltman assistant GM

The Milwaukee Bucks have named Jeff Weltman to the position of Assistant General Manager, General Manager John Hammond announced today.  Weltman comes to the Bucks after spending the 2007-08 season with the Detroit Pistons where he worked along side Hammond as the director of basketball administration.

“Jeff is a hard-working and respected NBA front office executive,” said Hammond.  “He has a keen eye for talent, a tireless work ethic and a strong knowledge of the league’s salary cap structure.  I value his input and look forward to continuing our relationship in Milwaukee.”

Weltman spent one season in Detroit and was responsible for coordinating the team’s draft preparation, scouting efforts, scouting schedules, and free agent visits.  He joined the Pistons after spending five seasons as the assistant general manager with the Denver Nuggets where he helped develop the Nuggets into a team that ended an eight-year play-off drought in 2003-04 and won 49 games in 2004-05.

“I’m excited to join the Milwaukee Bucks organization and grateful to Senator Kohl and John Hammond for the opportunity,” said Weltman.

The 43-year-old began his NBA career in 1988 as a video coordinator with the Los Angeles Clippers.  He quickly rose through the organization’s ranks and served as the club’s Director of Player Personnel from 1994-2001.  He worked closely with Hammond during the 1990-93 and 2000-01 seasons when the Bucks General Manager was an assistant coach for the Clippers (under Larry Brown from ’90-93 and under Alvin Gentry from ’00-01).  In all, the New York native owns 19 years of NBA experience.

Weltman graduated from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio in 1987.

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