SBJ/October 3-9, 2011/Franchises

Welts sees ‘a big upside’ for Warriors

Former Suns exec has front-office positions to fill

One of the first tasks on the list for newly hired Golden State Warriors President and COO Rick Welts is to install his own top management team as the former Phoenix Suns executive assumes operational control of the franchise with some major front-office jobs to fill.

Prior to hiring Welts, Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob had been running the business operations of the franchise, which he and partner Peter Guber bought last July for an NBA record $450 million.

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Warriors President Rick Welts ‘was looking forward to doing some different things.’
Since closing on the deal, Lacob and Guber have made major management changes, with Travis Stanley, senior executive vice president of marketing, and Neda Barrie, senior executive vice president of business operations, recently leaving the franchise.

Neither have been replaced, leaving Welts to create a new front-office team.

“We have a lot of strategic jobs to be filled right now,” said Welts, who will have full control of the team’s business.

“[Lacob] is thrilled to not be that guy anymore,” Welts said. “They have been very clear in that they are expecting me to run the business operations.”

Welts takes over the business operations of the Warriors after resigning as president of the Suns on Sept. 9 after nine years with the team.

He fills the role of Robert Rowell, who resigned as president in June after 16 years with the franchise.

Welts said he had no designs on the job after he left the Suns for personal reasons. But he changed his mind when Suns owner Robert Sarver recommended Welts to the Warriors.

“This was not the plan,” Welts said. “I was looking forward to doing some different things.”

Welts said the Warriors’ business operations are “in decent shape.”

“But there is a big upside,” Welts said. “It is a rich market from a corporate base. We can take the business further, and [Lacob and Guber] are committed to providing the resources.”

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