Pistons executive Josh Bartelstein will become the next CEO in Phoenix, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Sources tell Wojnarowski that new Suns owner Mat Ishbia targeted Bartelstein as someone he could work closely with to help rebuild the organization’s image after the scandals surrounding former owner Robert Sarver. Woj adds that Ishbia and Bartelstein will operate jointly to oversee both the business and basketball divisions of the team.
James Jones will retain his positions as president of basketball operations and general manager and will report directly to Ishbia, according to Wojnarowski’s sources.
Bartelstein will replace former CEO Jason Rowley, who was alleged by several team employees to have been part of the atmosphere of verbal abuse and intimidation that resulted in Sarver’s one-year suspension and led to his decision to sell the team.
The 33-year-old Bartelstein spent seven years in Detroit and was promoted to assistant general manager in September. Wojnarowski notes that he was involved in several high-profile projects during that time, including the Pistons’ move to a downtown arena.
Wojnarowski also points out that Bartelstein was a walk-on player in college, just like Ishbia, and served as a team captain at Michigan during the 2012/13 season. His father is Mark Bartelstein, CEO of Priority Sports and Entertainment and one of the NBA’s most powerful agents.