Hornets GM Bower signs extension

Friday, August 25th 2006, 10:11 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Jeff Bower signed a five-year extension Friday to remain the general manager of the New Orleans Hornets through 2011.

Bower has overseen a dramatic overhaul of the Hornets since he was promoted to general manager in October to replace Allan Bristow. Only four players who went through training camp with the Hornets last season are on the roster.

``We were all looking for change because nobody was satisfied with an 18-win season,'' Bower said. ``As an organization, we were committed to great change.''

Last season, the Hornets had the biggest improvement of any NBA team _ piling up 38 wins after having 18 in 2004-05. Bower followed that by signing free agents Peja Stojakovic, Bobby Jackson and Jannero Pargo, trading for center Tyson Chandler and re-signing forward Rasual Butler in the offseason to prepare the team for a run to the playoffs.

``It was a big jump from 18 to 38. It was a big jump, but we went into the offseason looking at that and understanding that to get from 38 to 43 or 44 may be even harder than getting from 18 to 38,'' Bower said.

Bower is in his second stint as the Hornets' GM. He worked his way up through the organization after starting off as an advance scout in 1995. He also served as an assistant coach before becoming the general manager for two years, beginning in 2001. He credited support staff, as well as vice president Willis Reed and owner George Shinn, for their roles in the team's turnaround.

``There's been an awful lot of people put a lot of effort into this, so don't think that I sat alone and concocted this brew,'' Bower said.