Posts Tagged ‘Rick Welts’

GLAAD honors Warriors president Welts

It is nearly 3 ½ years later. Jason Collins, an NBA center hoping to squeeze another season or two from the twilight of his career, has come out. Michael Sam, a successful college player trying to make it in the NFL, has since announced he is gay. Robbie Rogers, an American soccer player in England and later to return to the United States with the Los Angeles Galaxy, has made the same declaration.

2014 GLAAD San Francisco Gala

Jarron Collins and Rick Welts attend the 2014 GLAAD San Francisco Gala at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square on Sept. 13, 2014 in San Francisco, Calif. (Photo by Trisha Leeper/Getty Images for GLAAD)

Now Warriors president and chief operating officer, Rick Welts looks back without regret that he came out in a May 2011 front-page story in the New York Times, as the first prominent North American sports figure to publicly disclose his homosexuality. He looks ahead with optimism while seeing work still ahead before gay athletes and officials find true acceptance. In between — in the moment — he remains in the role he not only accepted but embraced at the time of his historic announcement: a leading voice whenever the topic enters the public conversation.

Welts was honored Saturday in San Francisco with the Davidson/Valentini Award by GLAAD as what the advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues called the “LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality for the LGBT community.” The presenter? New Warriors assistant coach Jarron Collins — Jason’s brother.

Welts, who rose from ball boy with the Seattle SuperSonics to executive vice president and chief marketing officer of the NBA and later president and chief operating officer of the Suns, couldn’t help but notice the sports world he helped pave, as he noted in a conversation in advance of the award ceremony.

NBA.com: What does something like that mean to you, to be put on that plateau, to be put on that podium, for the work that you’ve done?

Welts: I don’t know. It’s actually a really great opportunity to kind of reflect back over what I think has been just a remarkable time on our country’s history. For me, since I made my announcement in May of ’11, there’s no way I could have foreseen or anybody could have foreseen the transformation in our society over that period of time in regards to a whole number of issues.

I’m really proud of the NBA on that night. I’m obviously humbled by being selected for the honor, but the cooler thing for me is that I’m not sure what we’re going to do on Saturday night can be replicated in any other league. We have an openly gay president of an NBA team being presented by one of our team’s assistant coaches who happens to be the twin brother of the first male professional athlete to come out during his career, Jarron Collins. That’s a rare combination of events and personalities that kind of come together. I’m really proud of our league. I’m really proud of where the NBA is and will be on this issue and I think that it speaks volumes about the leadership in our league and its vision for what sports leagues can be and should be. If anything, that’s probably what I take away the most pleasure in.

NBA.com: One thing I’ve always noted is that stepping into this role as almost a spokesman for the whole movement, it’s not just something you have accepted, it’s something that you really seemed to have embraced. Where did that come from? Is that something you always wanted to have once you decided to come out or is that just how it evolved?

Welts: It was part of the thought process in deciding to undertake my journey the way I did. When I was thinking about this, I remember in January of 2011 asking one of my longest-standing friends and who I consider to be the smartest guy in the PR business, Dan Klores, when I was in New York.

I can remember it like it was yesterday. It was a snowy night on the Upper East side. We got together for dinner. I said, “Dan, here’s what I’m thinking about. But I’m too close to it. I could do this a number of ways. I could just take care of this privately with friends, family and co-workers and accomplish basically what I want to. But you need to help me understand if there’s a bigger story here and whether or not I could do more good by telling it another way.” That night, he looked across the table at me and said, “If you’re really prepared to do this, I think it’s Page A-1 New York Times.” That was kind of my “Oh, (shoot)” moment, excuse my French. I was kind of like, “Wow. Really? OK.”

And then over the ensuing few months I got introduced to a brilliant writer at the New York Times, Dan Barry, and talked about how the story could be told in a very thoughtful way and enlisted from Bill Russell to Steve Nash to David Stern to tell the story of someone about nobody in the sports world would really know: me. I don’t play, I don’t coach, I’ve devoted my life to this business but hearing about me through names that everybody that’s associated with sports would know is a great way to really put a circle around the announcement and to hopefully create some really substantive discussion about those issues in men’s pro sports, which has trailed — still trails, but I think we’re catching up a little bit — the country in terms of attitude and environments that are created in the workplace.

So, yeah, it’s what I signed up for. I embrace it and I’m incredibly gratified to see with amazement what’s happened since then. Not everybody gives Robbie Rogers enough credit, who is on the U.S. national soccer team and was a European soccer player at the time he made his announcement, now plays for the Galaxy. Jason Collins, obviously. Just an incredibly amazing act of strength to do what he did when he did it and the way he did it. And Michael Sam that we’re all rooting to find a job. But also we’re reading about college athletes and high school athletes who are taking those steps very courageously to make this something that we have to talk about. The more we talk about it, the better we understand it. (more…)

Morning Shootaround — Feb. 4


VIDEO: The Daily Zap for games played Feb. 3

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Report: Suns, Lakers still talking Pau | Lakers may get Nash back tonight | Report: Sixers shopping Turner | Warriors put new arena plan on hold

No. 1: Report: Suns, Lakers still talking Gasol deal — A days worth of buzz around the Internet about a potential Pau Gasol-to-Phoenix trade hasn’t scuttled the deal. Phoenix remains open to acquiring the former All-Star big man, but is waiting to see how he mends from a strained groin before going further, writes Ramona Shelbourne and Marc Stein of ESPN.com. As well, the other option to consider for the Suns, writes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, is how Gasol would fit into a pretty tight-knit bunch in Phoenix:

The Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns engaged in a fresh round of trade discussions Monday focused on four-time All-Star center Pau Gasol as both sides continued to assess their options in advance of the Feb. 20 trade deadline, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

Sources told ESPN.com that, while there is substantive interest on both sides, it’s believed Suns officials want to see how Gasol recovers from a strained groin before deciding whether to take talks to the next level.

Gasol noted on his Instagram page that he’d received a PRP injection on his groin on Monday.

One option for the Suns, by virtue of their $5.6 million in available salary-cap space, is swapping the expiring contract of injured big man Emeka Okafor for Gasol, even though Okafor’s $14.5 million salary this season falls well shy of Gasol’s $19.3 million. A trade for Okafor’s expiring deal would save the Lakers $4.8 million, taking them less than $3 million away from the league’s luxury-tax threshold, meaning one more smaller deal before the trade deadline could conceivably be enough to take them out of tax territory completely.

Because the trade would not bring the Lakers all the way under the luxury tax, sources said L.A. remains insistent on getting back draft picks or young players in addition to salary cap savings for the 33-year-old center.

The Lakers are also comfortable with keeping Gasol beyond the deadline to maintain as much financial flexibility for free agency this summer and beyond, sources said.

While it is attractive to try and get under the luxury tax threshold this season, it is not imperative, and the Lakers believe they have several other options to do so, sources said.

And here’s Coro’s report on how the Suns’ players are viewing potential trade talks:

The Suns are exploring many options for the Okafor trade chip, but Gasol leaked to light. Even with Gasol’s $19.3 million contract, the Suns could make the deal because of their cap space. But it would come at a cost of about $7 million for what the Suns would lose in Okafor contract savings and take on in prorated payroll.

The greater cost to weigh with Gasol, or any other deal, would be the effect on the team’s rhythm and chemistry with two months left. The Suns have risen from a last-place pick to the eighth-best NBA record somewhat because of how the team bonded on being young and lacking big-name stars. Gasol is a four-time All-Star who, at 33, is older than all of the Suns and currently is out because of a groin injury.

“I know he’s a great guy,” Suns guard Goran Dragic said. “He is not a troublemaker. He would be a good fit. You never know. He played for the Lakers so many years. They’ve got that three-angle offense, and it’s a totally different offense than we’ve got here. We have to run. We like to run.”

The attention is on Gasol, but the Suns have considered other players. Those have not been revealed, but they could involve other teams with no postseason aspirations. Philadelphia has Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner for youth. Milwaukee has Larry Sanders to fortify a front line’s defense and rebounding. Orlando has Arron Afflalo, a defensive, shot-making guard.

Falling short of a sure thing such as Kevin Love becoming available, there is no certainty to a midseason acquisition improving a 29-18 team.


VIDEO: Suns coach Jeff Hornacek talks about the team’s recent success

***

No. 2: Lakers get point guard reinforcements tonight?— A lack of depth at point guard — along with an injury to that Kobe Bryant guy — have played a big part in the Los Angeles Lakers’ freefall from fringe playoff contender to third-worst team in the Western Conference. Things might look up a little bit tonight in Minnesota (8 p.m. ET, League Pass) as point guards Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar might all be available to play. Trevor Wong of Lakers.com and ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Dave McMenamin have more on the Lakers’ backcourt:

Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar all participated in a second straight practice on Monday before the Lakers departed for their three-game road trip.

“They’re all good,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I think they’re all ready to go. There’s a possibility all three could play (at Minnesota).”

Blake addressed the media post practice and did not explicitly state he’d suit up at Minnesota, but acknowledged he’s felt much better with two consecutive days of practice.

“We’ll see,” he said. “I felt pretty good today. We’ll see how I feel when I wake up and go from there.”

Farmar, who has been out of action for one-month plus, echoed similar sentiments regarding his imminent return.

“I’m not sure about tomorrow,” Farmar said. “We’ll see. I’m available if they allow me (to play).”

Big man Pau Gasol will not play against the Wolves (strained right groin), which could also mean changes for the L.A. frontcourt, writes McMenamin:

The coach said he wondered if Nash, out since Nov. 10 with nerve root irritation in his back and hamstrings, would ever make it back to the court.

“With the age and how his back is, yeah, I definitely [wondered],” D’Antoni said. “Again, it just shows his perseverance to overcome whatever just to play. He wants to play, obviously. And he’s done an unbelievable job to get himself ready up to this point and we’ll see how it goes.”

Gasol’s absence and the presence of the three point guards will present D’Antoni with lineup options. He said either Chris Kaman, Jordan Hill or Robert Sacre could fill in as the starting center.

The question remains whether Kendall Marshall, who has averaged 11.9 points and 11.5 assists in 15 games as the starting point guard, will suddenly find himself without a role.

“I think he knows he’s going to play,” D’Antoni said. “Whether he starts or whether he doesn’t, he’ll have to [get used to the fact that] it won’t be the same. He’s not going to get 35 minutes no matter what he does. So, that’s how the NBA is and he’ll have to keep carving his niche out. He’s played well, so he’s got to continue that.”

Kaman, who received a Did Not Play — Coach’s Decision in 10 of the Lakers’ 15 games in January, sympathized with the position Marshall is in.

“I think Kendall is kind of in a whirlwind right now, trying to figure out what to do,” Kaman said. “The poor guy has been doing it on his own for the last month and a half and now that everybody is back, he’s like, ‘What am I doing? What do I do?'”

For his part, the 11-year veteran Kaman said he has stayed ready to play.

“Unfortunately it comes with someone getting hurt before I have a chance to play, but it’s part of the game,” he said. “You kind of wait your turn.”


VIDEO: Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni discusses the team’s injured point guards

***

No. 3: Report: Sixers shopping swingman Turner The Philadelphia 76ers are in the midst of a rebuilding season, but despite the struggles that come with that, swingman Evan Turner is enjoying his best season as a pro. Turner leads the Sixers in scoring (17.9 ppg), has delivered a couple of gamewinning shots this season and generally is developing into a solid starter in the NBA. But Turner is also in the last year of his rookie contract and is hearing his name bandied about in trade talks. The Sporting NewsSean Devaney writes that several teams are inquiring about Turner, but his ability to potentially be an unrestricted free agent next summer might hold up any deals:

The Philadelphia 76ers, deep into a rebuilding project that kicked off last June on draft night with the trade of All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday, have been stepping up their efforts to make a move before the trade deadline, and swingman Evan Turner has been at the forefront of those discussions, sources told Sporting News.

The Sixers are eager to net a draft pick for Turner—they’ve also shopped free-agent-to-be center Spencer Hawes and forward Thaddeus Young—and that has been a hang-up in their efforts to find a trade.

The problem, one league executive said, is that Turner can become a restricted free agent this summer—or unrestricted, if the Sixers decide not to extend the $8.7 million qualifying offer he is slated for this offseason. If Turner is to become an unrestricted free agent, trading for him now makes little sense.

.,.

The Thunder, who will own Dallas’ draft pick this year if it is outside of the Top 20, expressed interest in Turner earlier in the year. A source said, too, that Phoenix—which potentially has four first-round picks in the 2014 draft and would be willing to part with at least one—discussed Turner with the Sixers, but nothing solid resulted.

For Turner, now in his fourth season after having been the No. 2 overall pick in 2010, none of this comes as a surprise. Once the Holiday deal was announced, he knew the Sixers would be taking a step backward, and that he might not factor into the rebuilding plan.

That was confirmed this fall when not only did he fail to reach a contract extension with the team (players drafted in 2010 were extension-eligible this offseason), but there were not even any discussions between new Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie and Turner’s agent, David Falk, on a contract.

“I never expected to get a contract extension, especially when we switched GMs, you know?” Turner said. “I always said, Mr. Hinkie is going to do what he wants to do, and he has his own vision and everything like that. So when you trade an All-Star like Jrue, I mean, what occurs next isn’t going to surprise me. I was just trying my best to keep focused, keep helping the team win and getting better.”

Averaging 7.2 points as a rookie and 9.4 points in his second season caused him some anxiety—he was all too aware that he was already being labeled a disappointment and a bust, and he took that to heart.

“That’s what the No. 2 tag comes with,” he said. “Sometimes there are people who write stuff and say stuff that don’t even watch the game, you know what I am saying? I enjoyed my first two years.

Turner admits that dealing with the criticism was hard for him. He had been a star at Ohio State, and signed with Falk (who was retired) mostly because Falk had represented Michael Jordan. While Turner never expected to be Jordan, he did expect to be a star in the league.

“I was young,” he said. “When it came down to it, I got blamed for dang near everything. I wasn’t this, I wasn’t that. You become insecure about it.”

After the Sixers’ loss on the road to the Brooklyn Nets last night, Turner responded to the trade rumors with the following comment (per the Philadelphia Daily NewsBob Cooney):

“I really don’t read the paper; whatever is going to occur is going to occur,” said Turner, who is having his most productive season with a team-leading 18.1 points a game entering last night’s game against the Nets. “I just focus on the next day. That’s the honest-to-God truth. Until it happens, it’s nothing to really worry about.

“I bleed Sixers red, white, blue. At the end of the day, I never really worry about it. If something needs to be discussed, [his agent] will let me know. Other than that, you go with the flow and go about your business. Whatever happens, happens.”

***

No. 4: Warriors put new arena plans on hold Way back in May of 2012, Golden State announced it would be building a new arena on the San Francisco waterfront with hopes of opening it in 2017. Since then, renderings have been released and Warriors fan fervor over the new digs has been rising all along. Apparently, that excitement will have to be put on the shelf for a while, per Phillip Matier And Andrew Ross of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Warriors are halting plans on the arena for at least a year, if not longer:

The Golden State Warriors are putting their goal of opening a waterfront arena in San Francisco by 2017 on hold for a year – and maybe longer.

“It’s about getting it right, not about getting it done fast,” said Warriors President Rick Welts.

In the past 20 months, the team has produced three rough designs in an attempt to come up with one palatable to its prospective waterfront neighbors and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, which must approve the deal. In the meantime, cost estimates for preparing Piers 30-32, on which the arena would sit, have doubled to $180 million.

The Warriors’ acknowledgement that a 2017 opening won’t happen comes just days before arena opponents are expected to turn in more than 15,000 signatures for a measure that would require the Warriors – and any other developer – to win voter approval to exceed current height limits along the waterfront. The deadline is Monday.

“We are going to ensure that the Warriors arena goes before voters,” said Jim Stearns, the political consultant who is running the campaign for a June vote with the backing of the Sierra Club and others opposed to the 18,000-seat arena.

Backers had to gather the valid signatures of 9,702 registered voters to qualify their measure for the ballot. “The fact that this could get the needed signatures in just three weeks is a reflection of the kind of passion that is behind it,” said former Mayor Art Agnos, the most prominent politico opposing the Warriors’ proposal.

Meanwhile, the team is in talks to stay at Oracle Arena in Oakland beyond the 2016-17 season.

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Thunder star Kevin Durant maintains his position that he’s not a fan of the ‘Slim Reaper’ nickname … Nuggets coach Brian Shaw expects Andre Miller to talk to him — not the other way around — if he wants back on the team … Rookie phenom Giannis Antetokounmpo has a bright future, but how can he realize it? … Good look at what role Andrew Bynum might serve with the Pacers this season … Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey says the team isn’t ‘on the same page’, but he’s open to remaining in Detroit long-term, too … Austrailian Draft prospect Dante Exum already has ideas on where he’d like to play in the NBABrandon Knight has his first hero moment in Milwaukee as the Bucks top the Knicks

ICYMI of the Night: In case, for some reason, you forget just how freakishly athletic LeBron James can be, this alley-oop against Detroit last night was a great reminder …


VIDEO: LeBron James gets up for the power alley-oop slam

Warriors’ Jersey Switch A Success

HANG TIME WEST – They were, it was explained at the February unveiling, 26 percent lighter than the traditional tank-top jerseys. They were certainly a conversation piece. They were worn in three Warriors home games the second half of the season in a combination marketing move/fashion statement/organizational message.

And, it has been proven, they were popular.

The decision by Golden State management last season to become the only team to switch to short sleeves was embraced in the final evaluation despite some public ridicule, with team official reporting the radical look accounted for 53 percent of Warriors jerseys sales.

“That was probably in line with our expectations,” said Rick Welts, the team president and chief operating officer. “It was new, and I think people liked it, obviously, because more than half the jerseys that we sold we short sleeves. I understand the math here is imperfect because our team was better as well. How much of the sales were driven by just the increased interest in the team and how much by the innovation of the short-sleeve jersey is in the eye of the beholder. From the year before to last year, we were up about 23 percent overall in jersey sales. Again, I don’t know how much to attribute that to the new jersey, I don’t know how much to attribute it to the greater popularity of the team. But in the time it’s been offered over half of the people who were making a decision to buy one of our jerseys, they were choosing the short-sleeve variety, so I think from a fan standpoint you’d say that was a success.”

Indeed, it is difficult to quantify the true value to the business side – the same number of people who made the purchase might have spent on the traditional style of the new look had never existed. As the team took off, eventually reaching the second round of the playoffs, so did fan interest, resulting in greater merchandise sales from what has been a passionate fan base even during the many lottery years.

But to an organization with the intent of being on the cutting edge, the switch for the three games, one in February and two in March, was a success no matter what.

“The sales aspect pales in comparison to the overall brand statement we’re trying to make in terms of what we want the Warriors franchise to stand for, which is we’re willing to take some risks, we’re willing to introduce some innovations that haven’t been done before,” Welts said. “For us, that was what really drove this, not the retail component of it. At the end of the day, that is nice, but it really, in the scheme of the big picture, is not a huge revenue component of a franchise. It had a lot more to do with what we’re trying to present ourselves as a team than it did with whatever retail opportunity was at hand.”

The Warriors will wear short-sleeve jerseys again in 2013-14, with the exact number of games to be announced closer to the start of the regular season. There is no indication of the next radical step, going to the new look full-time. That takes more time for league approval, though it is not being ruled out for future years.

Rick Welts: ‘I’m Very Proud’ of Collins

.

OAKLAND – Saying “it took a man of great courage to do what he did today,” Warriors president Rick Welts offered praise and support for Jason Collins on Monday after the Wizards center became the first active athlete in any of the four major U.S. sports to announce he is gay.

Welts, a former top executive in the league office who had a major role in turning All-Star weekend from a Sunday game coupled with minor events into the NBA extravaganza of today, has been at the forefront of any conversation involving sports and homosexuality since he came out two years ago in a New York Times article. When Collins made a similar decision, via Sports Illustrated, Welts once again stepped into the role of pseudo-spokesman, only this time in the unique setting of the Warriors practice court on an off day for the team as it prepared to head to Denver for Game 5 of the playoffs on Tuesday.

“This is such a personal thing to reach the point in your life where you’re prepared to do this,” Welts said. “I’m very proud of him. It’s a very, very courageous thing that he chose to do. I read the story. It came through that it was very authentic. It came through as very, very genuine. He’s somebody who didn’t have the benefit of somebody going before him in the same situation to learn, to watch, to see how people would react. It takes a man of great courage to do what he did today. I’m happy for him. He’s going to be able to be the complete Jason Collins every day for the rest of his life.

“I think he probably knows what he signed up for. He’s going to face a whole bunch more television cameras and reporters than he probably has over the course of the last couple seasons. But clearly, it’s somebody who’s given this a lot of thought. He’s prepared for it and it’s what he signed up for. There’s been a lot of speculation about when, who, how (an athlete from any of the major sports would come out). And that speculation’s been put to rest now and we’ll always remember that Jason Collins was the first player to do this.”

Asked whether Collins, who becomes a free agent on July 1, will have more trouble finding landing a contract, Welts said, “If he can convince a coach and general manager that he can play and help their team, he’ll have another job…. It’ll all be what he can do on the court.”

Welts, who runs business operations for the Warriors and has no voice in basketball decisions, was pressed: How can he be so convinced the decision by teams whether or not to pursue Collins will not be strictly about on the court?

“I just think that’s where we are,” Welts said. “We’re lacking behind where our society is on this issue. To some degree, we caught up a little bit today.”

Warriors coach Mark Jackson, meanwhile, walked a very fine line when asked about Collins’ announcement, showing support for Collins without compromising his own beliefs.

“I will say this,” Jackson said. “We live in a country that allows you to be whoever you want to be. As a Christian man, I serve a God that gives you free will to be who you want to be. As a Christian man, I have beliefs of what’s right and what’s wrong. That being said, I know Jason Collins, I know his family, and am certainly praying for them at this time.”

When asked if Collins will face a stigma around the league and within locker rooms if Collins is signed for next season, Jackson said, “That’s not for me to answer.” In fact, a former veteran player and current coach is exactly the person to answer. Plus, Jackson was an analyst for Nets television broadcasts when Collins played there, and Jackson was a Jazz teammate of John Amaechi before Amaechi came out after retiring.

“It’s something that obviously being around Jason, and I played with John Amaechi in Utah, that there’s a reason why in these situation these players are at the end (of their career) or done,” Jackson said. “So obviously that answers itself. Right, wrong or indifferent, it is something that’s new to people.”

Rick Welts, Front and Center

OAKLAND – Rick Welts was never going to be just another basketball executive again, not after announcing his homosexuality in May in a lengthy New York Times article. But then came Tuesday and the press conference to introduce him as new Warriors president and chief operating officer and the realization that things are going to be different on a lot of fronts.

Unless there are a lot of press conferences where the subject is asked, “Do you think there will be a need for you to discuss your sexuality?”

Welts did not flinch. He handled that question – The front page of the New York Times is a pretty good way to explain it, etc. – and every other that came his way in the transition from nine years as Suns president to the first official day on the job with the Warriors.

Shy away from the possibility of indelicate questions about his personal life, including how he left Phoenix before the end of his contract to be closer to his partner in Northern California? No. Welts embraced his new, very public podium with no plans to withdraw into the relatively quiet life of an executive with no impact on the product on the floor.

“I knew that’s what I was signing up for when I kind of chose the path that I took in May,” he said. “I don’t think that time will come. And I think frankly, as I said, it was a choice. It was a choice I made. I think there’s an opportunity and a little bit of a responsibility that goes along with that as well.”

The Warriors didn’t just fill a vacancy at the top of business operations. They added a willing participant in a conversation of sports and society, and they did it in a market with a large homosexual population. Owner Joe Lacob said the May revelation of a high-ranking executive coming out was discussed, but served no motivation for the hire. Welts said coming to the Bay Area is an especially unique situation, but that it was not a part in taking the job. It’s just how things worked out.

“The platform I’ve been given is kind of national in nature,” he said. “It’s great to be here and I hope I can express it here. But that really wasn’t a factor at all.”

The interest is understandable with the rare disclosure in the sports world. Plus he is now in the Bay Area, the story is still fresh, and he’s now a business executive and therefore not in a role to discuss the direction of the roster. What should not be lost is that Welts is a great hire and very well respected after prominent positions at the league office and individual teams.

“I know it’s an obvious question to ask,” Lacob said when queried whether Welts could see his role unintentionally turn into something other than typical team president. “But the truth of the matter is I’m not really thinking about it. Neither one of us (Lacob or co-owner Peter Guber) are. He’s the best single guy we could have got to be president of this team. He’s incredibly qualified. League experience. Team experience. Incredibly respected. You can’t find anybody that has a negative thing to say about him. The truth is, we just wanted to hire the single best guy we could to be the president of the Golden State Warriors. The rest of it is what it is. People react however they react. I can’t control that.”