Mercury hiring ex-Warriors executive Nick U’Ren as GM

Jul 10, 2023, 3:50 PM

Mat Ishbia at a game...

Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia laughs during the game between the Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns at Little Caesars Arena on February 04, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

(Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

The Mercury are hiring former Golden State Warriors executive and Arizona native Nick U’Ren as the team’s next general manager, Phoenix announced Monday.

Outgoing GM Jim Pitman, who is retiring from his role at season’s end, will help in the transition of power. Pitman will also stay in his role as Phoenix Suns and Mercury executive vice president and chief financial officer.

“I want to thank Jim for his many contributions to the organization,” said Suns and Mercury owner Mat Ishbia said in a press release. “From our very first meeting, Jim was transparent about his likely plans to retire as general manager at the end of this season, which gave us the time needed to find the right replacement to lead the Mercury forward.

“We are excited to have Nick, a veteran basketball executive with four NBA titles under his belt, as the Mercury’s new general manager. We are committed to winning on and off the court, and I am confident that Nick will serve our fans, our community and our organization with passion, dedication and a commitment to excellence, in much the same way that Jim has.”

U’Ren will report directly to Suns and Mercury chief executive officer Josh Bartelstein.

U’Ren joins Phoenix’s ranks after spending the past nine seasons in Golden State’s basketball operations and was part of four championships.

Before his time with the Warriors, the McClintock High School graduate spent five seasons (2009-2014) with the Suns and Mercury in multiple roles including Suns director of video operations and Mercury head video coordinator.

From there, he joined Golden State as a special assistant to head coach Steve Kerr and director of coaching operations. He eventually transitioned into the front office where he served as the Warriors director of basketball operations for three years and most recently served as the executive director of basketball operations.

“I want to thank Mat Ishbia, Josh Bartelstein and Jim Pitman for entrusting me with one of the WNBA’s most storied franchises,” U’Ren said in the release. “There is a clear willingness to invest the necessary resources to build a winning team and culture in Phoenix.

“That, combined with the great people on and off the court, made this the right opportunity at the right time for my family and me. I also want to thank the Golden State Warriors for the knowledge, experiences and friendships that I gained during my time there.”

Pitman heads to retirement with 169 regular season victories and 24 postseason wins under his belt, both franchise records.

His tenure in the desert included nine playoff appearances and 14 playoff series wins, highlighted by a WNBA title in 2014.

“It has been a great privilege to oversee 10 seasons of Mercury basketball and to have had a day-to-day role in the franchise I’ve been involved in since its inception in 1997,” Pitman said in the release. “There have been extraordinary highs — winning a championship, witnessing Diana Taurasi becoming the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer and of course watching Brittney Griner’s return to basketball — and I’m incredibly grateful to have been a part of a team that has brought so many people so much joy.

“I have known Nick for many years and look forward to working alongside him to ensure we are well positioned for success now and into the future.”

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