PHOENIX – The three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury today announced that Jim Pitman will retire from the position of general manager at the conclusion of the 2023 WNBA season, and that Golden State Warriors basketball executive and Arizona native Nick U’Ren (pronounced yoo-REN) has been named the Mercury’s new general manager.
U’Ren will work with Pitman on the transition and will take over responsibilities full-time at the end of the season, at which time he will oversee all aspects of Mercury basketball operations. U’Ren will report to Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury Chief Executive Officer, Josh Bartelstein. Pitman will remain in his role as Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
“I want to thank Jim for his many contributions to the organization. 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,” said Phoenix Mercury and Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia.“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 joins the Mercury from Golden State where he spent the last nine years in basketball operations under Bob Myers and Steve Kerr, part of four Warriors’ NBA Championship teams (2015, 2017, 2018, 2022).
“I want to thank Mat Ishbia, Josh Bartelstein and Jim Pitman for entrusting me with one of the WNBA’s most storied franchises,” said U’Ren. “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.”
A McClintock High School graduate, U’Ren began his career with the Suns and Mercury where he spent five seasons (2009-2014) in various roles including Suns Director of Video Operations, and Mercury Head Video Coordinator before joining the Golden State Warriors as special assistant to the head coach and director of coaching operations. U’Ren spent multiple seasons on Kerr’s coaching staff before transitioning to the front office where he served three years as the Warriors Director of Basketball Operations and most recently as Executive Director of Basketball Operations. U’Ren’s experience also includes college and pro player personnel evaluation and advance scouting.
Under Pitman, the club has amassed 169 regular season wins through the 2023 season, including a WNBA-record 29 wins in 2014, and 24 postseason victories. Both totals are the most of any general manager in franchise history. During his tenure, the Mercury have made nine consecutive playoff appearances (10-straight overall, the WNBA’s longest active streak), including six appearances in the Semifinals/Conference Finals, two WNBA Finals berths, and the 2014 WNBA title. Including single-elimination round victories, Phoenix has 14 playoff series wins during Pitman’s tenure.
“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,” said Pitman. “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.”
“Jim’s vision and dedication helped lead our organization to what it is today – an elite WNBA franchise with the best fan base in women’s basketball,” added Bartelstein. “While he is retiring from his role as general manager, Jim has been an integral part of our organization for more than three decades and we look forward to his continued guidance and leadership across our business operations.
“I am excited to welcome Nick and his family back home to the Mercury and Suns family where his basketball operations career began. Not only does Nick possess a wealth of basketball leadership experience, he has a tremendous understanding of what it takes to build a championship culture and create sustained success.”