How can we get sick of this dashing countenance?(AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Michael Chow)  MARICOPA COUNTY OUT  NO SALES

In an interview on XTRA 910 captured here, Rick Welts gets into more detail about a number of things including his departure and future. But a couple of items stuck out in the interview regarding working with Robert Sarver, David Stern, and most importantly, his opinion on the future of the Phoenix Suns. And while we are all scraping the bowl, looking for any kind of Suns specific news, here's just a little bit more, with yours truly attempting to grasp as much content as possible in this chunk of the interview:

  • More on why he's leaving the Suns:

"...I’ve only developed only one skill in my 36 years in this business, and that’s having a great sense of when it’s time to leave a job. Now is the right time..."

I was irrationally skeptical about his departure and certainly unhappy about another change in the Suns front office. But this sounds legit to me.  And let's face it, Welts has some huge honesty points going for him right now, so why doubt the guy, why blame Bob Sarv? (other than because it's fun)... Says Welts:

"...if there’s a good guy in this story, he’s (Sarver) a good guy in this story..."

Sarver is a great guy, he was supportive when Welts "came out," and he handled the departure professionally and all that.

But:

"...I would absolutely confirm on a scale of 1 to 10 he (Sarver) is not an easy guy everyday to work for. I will tell you that the guy that I worked for before him, David Stern for 17 years, is off-the-charts in difficulty to work for. So Robert is a piece of cake, okay?"

Rick forgot to give Bob a number in the 1-10 scale. But it isn't surprising to hear that Sarver isn't a peach. But what NBA owner is? Sterling? Buss? Cuban?

  • Now down to brass tacks....Welts would "buy stock in the Suns?" Why?

"...because of what’s been invested in the infrastructure on the basketball side...I’m a big believer in the people we’ve brought in, and we’ve made big investments in everything that is possible to invest in in building the infrastructure to be a successful basketball organization."


  • OK, so when are the Suns going to be playoff caliber again?

"Whether that’s one year, two years, three years, I’m not sure. But it’s going to happen, and I think when it does, this is going to be a team that’s going to be right in the thick of things and competing for a championship again."

 

Well, better than nothing, no? And with all of the doom and gloom, question marks, and concerns, there's at least one former suit that thinks things are headed in the right direction, at least upstairs.  We'll see what the new brain trust does about the men on the court who dictate the wins and losses.

Poll
Do you think the Suns Current Front Office is capable of rebuilding the team into a championship contender as Welts believes?

  184 votes | Results


Dre Alvarez from the Wages of Wins Network blog NerdNumbers.com joined me on the ValleyoftheSuns podcast to discuss what the Wins Produced stat tells us about the Suns as well as the Second Seconds...

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I'm resting my 37-year old body. You gotta problem with that?

Steve Nash has been under fire this past week for his decision not to play on the Canadian national basketball team. The chorus of criticism grew louder when Canada failed to qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics. It's no small thing to be accused of disloyalty to one's country, and that's essentially what happened.

The Toronto Sun had this to say:

But sadly for Team Canada, and the national team program, Nash stuck to his guns and refused to suit up for the team. The man was a social butterfly this summer, bouncing from one city to another, doing this, that and the other thing. But devoting a couple of weeks to the national team was apparently out of the question.

But, hey, he's Steve Nash, and in the eyes of many, he can do no wrong.

Them there's fightin' words, and Nash isn't the type to back down in the face of any such thing; he invited Canadian basketball fans to question him on Twitter and replied to many of their questions.

It's funny. We here among the Suns fan community never gave this a second thought, or probably even a first thought. Nash play on the Canadian national team? Nooooo! He ended last season with an injury, is 37-years old and is our best player. Asking him to use some of the basketball life he has left in an amateur event? Uh, no thank you.

Still, there is national pride at stake here, and Nash is Canada's darling, so it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that he's being grilled about this.

Jump it to see how Nash responded to the criticism.

@SteveNash: I appreciate the passion some of u have for Canada's National Basketball team. I'm happy to answer any questions u have about not playing.

@Steve Nash: Although I retired from international bball 7 years ago the bottom line is I couldn't have played this summer bc I'm rehabbing an injury.

@SteveNash: RT @jgwulterkens: @SteveNash Is it because of what Bieber did to you?(Partly...)

@SteveNash: RT @ArtAronson: how do u feel about Triano not being part of the coaching staff?(Shouldve never been let go but not the main reason for me.)

@SteveNash: RT @Paris_Gargoyle: @SteveNash Why aren't u playing for the national soccer team in WC qualifiers?(Too busy being a soccer groupie.)

@SteveNash: RT @mymanmoose: @SteveNash Will you consider rejoining Team Canada anytime in the future? (probably not for the same reasons I retired)

@SteveNash: The moments and memories I had playing for Canada are the best of my career. It wasn't an easy decision nor one I wanted to make, to stop playing for the national team but something had to give. I was 30, playing year round, carrying injuries into both seasons and not enjoying playing hurt. I was asked to do a lot for the suns and after 13 years with the national team I felt I had to choose one or the other to prolong my career. And the NBA is my lively hood.

@SteveNash: @rexchapman: @SteveNash Yes Steve, which of your many American-born teammates has had the best rendition of "O-Canada"? (mike Finley)

{A Steve Nash/Rex Chapman/Michael Finley tweet? My heart is aflutter.}

@SteveNash: RT @Bueller27: @SteveNash where do you rank Santa Clara's win over Arizona? top 10? or not a big deal? (for sure top 10)

ASU fans have to love this, as do old school college hoops fans. Nash's #15 seed Santa Clara team defeating the #2 seed U of A Wildcats in 1993 was one of the greatest upsets in NCAA tournament history.

I understand the frustration of Canadian fans. Nash was one of the men who lit the torch at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. He's a national sports star in a nation which hasn't had the volume of sports stars that we've had in the US. But Nash is old as a professional athlete, and his body only has so much left in it. He had to decide between what was more important, his commitment to the Suns or his desire to lift the Canadian national team. Of course, my view is biased and selfish, but his decision seems obvious to me. What say you?

Poll
Should Steve Nash have played for the Canadian national basketball team?

  398 votes | Results


After a career defined by putting work over his personal life, Rick Welts made a move toward the personal side by resigning from his post as Phoenix Suns president and CEO on Friday after nine years...

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Rick Welts has been President and CEO of the Suns since 2002, longer than any current player or owner Robert Sarver have been associated with the team.

Phoenix Suns Team President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Welts announced his resignation from the team, reports the Arizona Republic. Welts has been affiliated with the Suns organization since 2002, running the business and marketing side of the team but not being involved in basketball operations.

His last day on the job will be September 15, after which he'll be replaced on an interim basis by General Counsel Jason Rowley until a permanent successor is selected.

Welts made news in May by publicly announcing that he is gay, a move that was met with support from the Suns organization and coincided with an anti-homophobia public service announcement featuring Suns players Grant Hill and Jared Dudley.

Welts told the Republic he's not leaving the Suns for another job in professional sports franchise management but rather that:

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.

More.....

Here's wishing Rick Welts all the best in his future endeavors and thanking him not only for his service to the Suns, but for displaying a brand of courage that only one who has walked in his shoes can fully understand and appreciate.

At the same time, Rick Welts was an outstandingly talented sports marketer and savvy businessman. He worked 17 years in the NBA league office before joining the Suns, rising to the level of Chief Marketing Officer and President of NBA properties. He's been credited with creating the NBA's All-Star weekend, among other notable achievements. Let's not remember him solely as "oh yeah, he was the gay guy" when he is so much more than that.


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