Detroit Pistons Sign General Manager Jeff Bower to a Contract Extension
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Detroit Pistons Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations Stan Van Gundy announced today that the team has signed general manager Jeff Bower to a contract extension. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the job Jeff has done for our organization,” said Van Gundy. “He’s been at the forefront of all the moves we’ve made over the last two seasons and has implemented much of the strategy and structure throughout our basketball operations department. The confidence I have in his ability allows me to go out and coach during the season knowing that he’s always looking to make our team better.”
Pistons Owner Tom Gores praised Bower’s work shaping the roster and contributing to a cohesive leadership team.
"Jeff has been a key link for Stan and me and the whole organization to accomplish many things in a very short period of time,” said Gores. “His ingenuity, along with having a deep understanding of Stan’s basketball vision, has very quickly helped us toward our goal of long term sustained success. He deserves a lot of the credit for getting us to the playoffs and assembling a cohesive, young team that will continue to grow."
Bower was named general manager on June 3, 2014 and has led the charge in revamping the team’s roster. His tenure coincides with the team’s improved record over the last two seasons and its return to the playoffs for the first time since 2009. In Bower’s first year as the Pistons general manager, the club went 32-50 and posted a three-game improvement from the previous season. Detroit moved to 44-38 in 2015-16, marking the team’s most wins and first above-.500 record since 2007-08.
Under Bower’s leadership, the Pistons roster has experienced an overhaul leading to a mixture of youth, veteran leadership and depth at every position. Only Andre Drummond and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope remain from the group of players Bower and Van Gundy inherited. Most recent, he engineered a move where the Pistons acquired forward Tobias Harris from the Orlando Magic in exchange for Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova at the 2016 trade deadline. Bower spearheaded Detroit’s efforts in acquiring guard Reggie Jackson in a 2015 trade-deadline deal which sent D.J. Augustin and Kyle Singler to Oklahoma City and the trade that brought Ilyasova to the Pistons, from Milwaukee, in exchange for Caron Butler and Shawne Williams. Other key moves Bower has made toward the roster’s improvement include the signing of free-agent big man Aron Baynes and trading for forward Marcus Morris and guard Reggie Bullock from the Phoenix Suns. In the 2015 NBA Draft, Detroit selected Arizona forward Stanley Johnson (8th overall) and Villanova’s Darrun Hilliard (38th overall), both of whom made an impact for this year’s squad.
A veteran executive with more than 30-plus years of basketball experience at the NBA and collegiate levels, Bower served two terms as general manager of the Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets from 2001-03 and 2005-10. He first joined the Hornets organization in 1995 as an advance scout and was promoted to director of scouting/assistant coach after two years. He was the team’s assistant general manager for the 2000-01 season and was named general manager on June 4, 2001. After two years as general manager, Bower was named as an assistant coach (2003-04) and director of player personnel (2004-05) before taking over as general manager again in 2005.
While with the Hornets, Bower drafted four future NBA All-Stars including Baron Davis (1999, third pick), Jamaal Magloire (2000, 19th pick), David West (2003, 18th pick) and Chris Paul (2005, fourth pick). He’s credited with rebuilding the Hornets franchise in wake of Hurricane Katrina which forced the Hornets to temporarily relocate to Oklahoma City from 2005-07. His 2007-08 Hornets team set a franchise record with 56 regular-season wins, won its only division title and advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals where they took the San Antonio Spurs to seven games. The Hornets made four playoff appearances under his leadership. That year, Bower finished third in the Sporting News NBA Executive of the Year voting.
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