The Pistons have formally named Jeff Bower their next General Manager, the team announced. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports first reported Monday that Detroit was on the verge of making the deal final. Bower will serve as day-to-day help for president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy, who doubles as the team’s coach.
“Jeff brings great basketball knowledge and NBA experience to our organization and he’s enjoyed success in building teams,” Van Gundy said as part of the team’s statement. “He’s a great evaluator of talent and Jeff will bring solid leadership to our front office.”
Pistons management had to wait until Bower was formally released from his contract at Marist College to make the announcement. Before serving as Marist’s head coach, Bower was in the New Orleans organization for 15 years including a run as GM from 2005-10. He also served as coach of the then-Hornets for the final 73 games of the 2009/10 season, going 34-39.
His record as the primary front office decision-maker in New Orleans had its share of both hits and misses. He acquired a young Tyson Chandler in 2006 for P.J. Brown and J.R. Smith, then traded Chandler for Emeka Okafor in a regrettable 2009 deal. The team unearthed Darren Collison with the 21st overall pick in 2009, helping make up for the selection of Julian Wright at No. 13 in 2007.
Still, Bower will serve a secondary role to Van Gundy in the Pistons basketball operations department, having beaten out former Magic GM Otis Smith, with whom Van Gundy had worked in Orlando. Stu Jackson also interviewed for the position, while Spurs assistant GM Scott Layden and former Heat GM Randy Pfund were also reportedly candidates. Bower had been in the running for GM jobs with the Sixers and Magic the past two summers. Those jobs, unlike the one he wound up with in Detroit, would have given him full control over player personnel.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.