Just a few weeks after resigning his post as President and CEO of the Phoenix Suns, Rick Welts has been named the Warriors' new President and Chief Operating Officer.
It's a bit of a curious move as Welts resigned his position with the Suns because of a personal issue. Via the Arizona Republic, Welts said he wasn't leaving for another job, but another city. Welts, who announced he is gay over the summer, has a new relationship in Sacramento. (Sacramento is not where the Warriors play, obviously.)
Welts said at the time, "The most important thing for me is to get my personal and professional lives better aligned. They've probably never been aligned. I'm 58 years old and it's time to do that.
"This isn't one of those departures to see greener pastures. It really is completely a personal situation. These guys have been tremendously accommodating and any other inference than that is absolutely crazy."
A bit curious, I have to say. Obviously I don't know the details and I'm not going to speculate, but it's hard not to raise an eyebrow.Welts said in a press release, "It’s hard to express how excited I am to embrace this opportunity and be part of a collective group in building the Warriors into a championship caliber organization. I’ve been most impressed with Joe Lacob and Peter Guber’s vision and desire to do something great. Not good, but great. Many of the ingredients are here – the Warriors’ rich history, the team’s amazing fan support and the strength of the Bay Area as a sports market. We have a lot of work to do and I can’t wait to get started.”
Maybe it was an offer he couldn't refuse. Who knows. But it's hard not to wonder. He seemed to really try and hammer home that he wasn't leaving for another job. And yet 17 days after resigning, he's taken a new job.
Other than the big news he made months ago, Welts is probably most famously known for being the mind behind the NBA's All-Star Weekend as well as a primary promoter of the 1992 Olympic "Dream Team." (Welts is credited with coming up with the name.) He is also credited with being a major part of the WNBA's creation in 1996.
Welts has been with the Suns since 2002 and was primarily in charge of boosting ticket sales and relieving then general manager Jerry Colangelo of some of his day-to-day business duties.