Hornets re-sign fan favorite Bowen

Monday, August 11, 2008
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Other than Chris Paul’s participation in the Summer Olympics, the past few weeks have been an extremely quiet portion of the offseason in terms of Hornets news. That changed Monday when the team announced the official re-signing of backup forward Ryan Bowen.

Last summer, Bowen earned an invitation to training camp and wound up spending the majority of the regular season in Byron Scott’s rotation. Although Bowen’s playing time dropped considerably during the playoffs, his value is evident during the 82-game regular season. There were plenty of games in 2007-08 when he gave the struggling second unit a boost of energy with his all-out, hustling style of play. He even filled in as a starter for four games, including a three-game stretch in March when David West was injured.

As has been the case throughout his entire eight-year NBA career that includes previous stops in Denver and Houston, the 6-foot-9, 218-pounder became a big fan favorite in New Orleans. He provides the Hornets with an array of intangibles and is regarded by the coaches as a tremendous locker room influence. Bowen gives off a very humble vibe, always quick to throw in a self-deprecating joke about himself and his relative lack of leaping ability, for example.

The 32-year-old told an Iowa newspaper last week that part of the reason he is excited about returning to New Orleans is that his family will be joining him here in 2008-09. Partly due to how late in the offseason he was signed by the Hornets, his wife and three young children spent 2007-08 in Iowa. Bowen often mentioned in conversation that being away from his family was the most difficult aspect of his first season in New Orleans.

Preseason schedule expected Tuesday

The 2008 preseason should be an eventful one for the Hornets, who are traveling to Europe on Oct. 10 to prepare for their participation in NBA Europe Live 2008. New Orleans is scheduled to play preseason games against the Washington Wizards on Oct. 14 and Oct. 17, in Berlin and Barcelona, respectively.

One other Hornets preseason game was announced months ago: an Oct. 23 game against the Miami Heat in Mobile, Ala., located about 140 miles east of New Orleans. The Hornets are also expected to play a pair of preseason home games in the New Orleans Arena, part of the 43-game package for full-season ticket holders. Check Hornets.com on Tuesday for the full rundown of dates, times and opponents for the team's 2008 preseason. The Hornets generally play a total of seven or eight exhibition games.

The regular season opener is Oct. 29 at Golden State.