The Detroit Pistons currently have three key front-office employees with major power, but one could soon be on the way out.
General manager Jeff Bower may soon leave the Pistons, as he is reportedly interested in the Charlotte Hornets’ job that is expected to open up soon.
While the Hornets are rumored to be interested in former Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, Bowers’ role with the Pistons is presumably diminished with head coach Stan Van Gundy also serving as the head of the basketball operations in Detroit.
But according to league insider Marc Stein, ownership could also be angling to give more responsibility to the franchise’s vice chairman, who is currently in charge of their business development: Arn Tellem (via Dunc’d On NBA Podcast):
“I’ve heard this from multiple rival teams in the last couple of weeks, there seems to be an anticipation that Arn Tellem, who, of course, is one of the most successful agents in this league’s history, and has been running the Pistons business side for two-plus years now, there is a lot of chatter that, don’t be surprised if Arn Tellem ends up running the Pistons basketball operations in the near future.”
In one of his columns, Stein wrote that the move to land Blake Griffin from the Los Angeles Clippers could have been one made that “paves the way for a Tellem takeover” in Detroit. Especially without Bower, they would have an instant candidate to promote internally.
There is a lot of respect for Bower within the organization and it would be a hit if he leaves the team for Charlotte. But if the GM does take a gig with the Hornets, it could lead to a big splash – with Tellem potentially taking over the basketball operations.
Prior to joining the Pistons, Tellem was one of the most powerful agents in the NBA. He represented many players including Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, LaMarcus Aldridge, Al Horford, Brook Lopez, Marc Gasol and Jabari Parker among many others.
So far, agents-turned-general-managers such as Bob Myers in Golden State and Rob Pelinka in Los Angeles have had success. Perhaps Tellem will be the next to make a significant impact as a GM.