Head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy has dusted off his old rolodex as he has worked to remake the Detroit Pistons in his own image. Already he has signed a slew of his former assistant head coaches for similar roles in Detroit and he has interviewed two former peers for the team's general manager vacancy. Otis Smith, the former Orlando Magic GM, interviewed first, and Stu Jackson, who spent a couple years with Van Gundy at Wisconsin interviewed most recently.
A few additional names are emerging as candidates, however, and they don't seem to have any professional working relationship with Van Gundy. Marc Stein reports that former New Orleans Hornets GM Scott Bower and current San Antonio Spurs assistant GM Scott Layden are two names "coming up with increasing frequency" for the Pistons' job.
Detroit Bad Boys already covered the viability of Bower as a candidate and will work to publish a piece on Scott Layden in the near future (spoiler alert: Layden is more than the sum of his disastrous tenure with the New York Knicks). Though the Bower profile was written before the Stan Van Gundy era, it touches on a lot of interesting aspects of his candidacy including his successful rosters he assembled in New Orleans, his appreciation for analytics, as well as the unfortunate-in-retrospect Tyson Chandler trade.
One thing the piece doesn't touch on, however, and I think this might be a theme in Van Gundy's interest in candidates, is the history these men have had with ... inharmonious ownership and front office groups. Smith and Van Gundy dealt with the Dwight Howard drama and seemed to go down with the ship. Jackson had to deal with the pressure to deal with his No. 2 overall pick Steve Francis, who didn't want to play for the expansion-era Vancouver Grizzlies. Scott Layden spent years trying to mollify the notoriously awful James Dolan in New York. And Bower had to deal with the league's biggest cheapskate in George Shinn, who eventually had the ownership of his franchise wrestled away from him.
And despite all that, Bower had plenty of success in New Orleans. And it also helps shed some light on the Tyson Chandler trade. Not only was Chandler plagued by injuries in New Olreans, but it appears Shinn might have forced the trade to avoid the luxury tax.
One thing is clear, however. And that is that Stan Van Gundy is really the decision maker in the organization. Whomever he hires will be someone who facilitates the vision Van Gundy sets forth. And in that respect, Bower and Layden become appealing and serious candidates for the job.
What say you DBB?