Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical first reported Sunday that the two sides had reached a deal on a multiyear extension.
Bower "has been the top day-to-day basketball executive for Stan Van Gundy," the team's president and head coach, according to Wojnarowski. He was entering the final year of a three-year contract.
Van Gundy spoke about Bower's deal in the team release:
We couldn’t be more pleased with the job Jeff has done for our organization. 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.
Bower's footprint was all over the Pistons team that went 44-38 and reached the Eastern Conference playoffs this year as a No. 8 seed. As Wojnarowski noted, he orchestrated the trades for point guard Reggie Jackson and forward Tobias Harris and also selected Stanley Johnson in the 2015 draft.
That trio of additions paid major dividends this past season:
|Detroit Pistons' Top Players: 2015-16 Season|
Bower took over as the team's general manager before the 2014-15 season after two stints as the general manager for the New Orleans Hornets (2001-03, 2005-10) and head coaching gigs with the Hornets (2009-10) and Marist College (2013-14). He also served as an assistant coach at Penn State and at Marist, so he brings experience in the game from a number of perspectives.
That, perhaps, has fueled many positive relationships within the Pistons organization. Bower told Wojnarowski in May on The Vertical Podcast (h/t Perry A. Farrell of the Detroit Free Press) that the trio of owner Tom Gores, Van Gundy and himself was a "great fit."
He also spoke during that podcast of the team's decision to have scouts watch every NBA regular-season game:
It’s only possible through the amount of time and effort that our scouts have put in observing and evaluating the games. It was Stan’s idea, and his coaching aspect being transformed into scouting and the resources that Tom Gores provided for us to be able to hire a staff dedicated strictly to pro personnel scouting... These are all guys who have been in the league for a long time. Have been former coaches or advanced scouts for the most part.
They are used to breaking down the game in granular detail. It’s a group that is completely hidden, but is so vital to us moving forward in all the things we’ve done up to this point as far as roster changes.
He added: "Throughout the NBA, there’s a heavy emphasis on the college draft, the research and scrutiny that goes into that every year. We felt there should be the equivalent amount on the pro side.”
In other words, when Bower and Van Gundy hit free agency this summer, they will be fully prepared. They have certainly helped to instill positive change in the organization in their two seasons together.
Attracting a superstar probably isn't in the cards for the Pistons this summer, but the sort of savvy, under-the-radar move that has become the calling card of Bower's stay in Detroit could vault the team to the next level and make it a contender in the Eastern Conference.
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