Posted by Sekou Smith
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — If there is anyone out there that can make good sense of what’s going on in New Orleans this summer, feel free to share with the rest of us.
In the latest twist, Jeff Bower is out as general manager for being well … a general manager.
Seriously, per John Reid of the Times-Picayune Bower didn’t say or do the right things where Chris Paul is concerned and somehow ran afoul of an organization he has worked for the last 15 years (including the magnificent selection of Paul’s backup/eventual replacement, Darren Collison, above, with the 21st pick in the 2009 draft):
Bower did not help matters last month when he didn’t diffuse trade rumors concerning Paul, saying he had a duty to listen and have dialogue with teams about all of the players on New Orleans’ roster.
League sources said the Hornets’ brass wasn’t in agreement with Bower’s stance, and the team hastily sent out a release the next day clarifying with a statement from owner George Shinn that they plan to continue building their team around Paul.
“This is something that we felt working with Jeff that we needed to find a different way of approaching our work, and again we felt it was a good time to get a clean start,’’ team president Hugh Weber said. “You cannot do the same things and expect a fresh result. It was a matter of our organization growing in a way our ownership would feel comfortable.
“We felt we needed to be progressive and different and look at things from a prospective. Again, we talked about this before — you can’t keep doing the same things and expect a different result.’’
It appeared, however, the “mutual” parting of ways caught Bower off guard as the decision occurred while he was evaluating talent on the Hornets’ Vegas Summer League roster and finalizing a deal to re-sign free-agent backup center Aaron Gray.
Bower, who still sounded a bit stunned that his tenure with the Hornets was over, said he wasn’t aware the perceived rocky relationship with Paul.
“I had a great 15 years with the organization,’’ said Bower, who interviewed to be the New Jersey Nets’ president earlier this month before withdrawing his name from consideration. “I had a chance to work just about every role, and I learned from each one of them. I’m sure that I am going to have other opportunities.’’
We pounded on Bower pretty good when he fired Byron Scott and then wound up replacing him as the Hornets’ coach. But we never had a major problem with the work he did as GM.
Sure, the Hornets overpaid for Peja Stojakovic and traded for Emeka Okafor, but every GM has a few skeletons he’ll never get rid of. Bower seemed to be holding things together during a tough time for the Hornets … and then the free agent frenzy hit and Paul’s name kept popping up in rumors.
Again, if anyone has any answers, we’re all ears here at the hideout.