UPDATE: The Pistons have made it official, announcing the hire on Tuesday. "I'm excited to join the Pistons organization and play a role in helping this franchise build on its great basketball tradition," Bower said in a statement. "I look forward to working with Stan, his staff and everyone in the Pistons organization to put together a team that the community can support and be proud of. I'm also excited about ownership's commitment to winning and their demonstrated commitment to the community."
It's not often someone goes from coaching a 12-19 MAAC team to becoming an NBA general manager, but that appears to be the case with Marist coach Jeff Bower.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, new Detroit Pistons president and head coach Stan Van Gundy is close to hiring Bower as the team's GM.
Stan Van Gundy's making his first major front office hire, finalizing agreement with Jeff Bower to become Detroit's GM, sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 2, 2014
Bower is a longtime NBA guy, spending 15 years in the Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets organization. During that time he held the position of general manager, head coach, scout and pretty much everything else in the front office.
He was hired at Marist last spring, replacing Chuck Martin.
Under Van Gundy, who also works as president of basketball operations for Detroit, Bower will handle day-to-day management functions and likely spearhead negotiations with free agents and rookies, as well as helping to manage the scouting and analytics departments.
Van Gundy had also reportedly been considering former NBA President of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson and his former GM in Orlando, Otis Smith. Bower helped build a powerhouse in a small market in New Orleans but struggled to maintain it, as spending limitations due to ownership broke up the successful 2008 team. Bower took over as interim coach in 2009 after the firing of Byron Scott. He left the team at the end of that season, after which Monty Williams and Dell Demps were hired.