The Pistons are finalizing an agreement with former New Orleans GM Jeff Bower that would make him Detroit’s GM, a role in which he would assist president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Bower emerged as a candidate for the job Thursday, and apparently he’s beaten out Otis Smith and Stu Jackson, who were the only two known candidates for a few weeks. Spurs assistant GM Scott Layden and former Heat GM Randy Pfund were other latecomers in the race.
Bower was a candidate for the Sixers and Magic GM jobs in 2013 and 2012, respectively, although he’d have had more autonomy in those jobs than he’s in line for with Detroit. He’ll handle the day-to-day duties of the Pistons front office, Wojnarowski writes, while Van Gundy juggles the tasks of being the team’s head coach and top basketball executive. Bower is set to leave his job as the head coach at Marist College, which he took last year after working as a scout following the end of 15 years in the New Orleans organization, as Wojnarowski points out.
He served as the primary basketball executive for the then-Hornets from 2005-10, finishing out his tenure there in a dual role of GM and coach in 2009/10. His experience that season may come in handy for Van Gundy, who’s schedule figures to be packed. Still, Bower is something of a surprise choice, given the connection between Van Gundy and Smith, who worked together with Orlando, and the team’s interview with Jackson.