Suns owner Robert Sarver has become focused on the candidacy of former Detroit and New Orleans general manager Jeff Bower to assume a high-ranking front-office role with Phoenix, league sources told ESPN on Saturday.
Sarver has begun to inform other serious candidates that he's retreating from them and moving toward a hiring that could be complete early next week, league sources told ESPN.
Sarver has discussed with prospective job candidates a senior advising role that will allow interim GM James Jones to continue in a lead front-office capacity with decision-making power, league sources said. Jones had sat in on interviews, along with Arizona Cardinals All-Pro receiver Larry Fitzgerald, league sources said.
Bower was the Pistons' general manager under president of basketball operations and coach Stan Van Gundy for four seasons until a change was made in May.
Bower has been a well-respected executive in the league for two decades, earning praise for his organization and scouting acumen in 11 seasons as GM in Charlotte, New Orleans and Detroit. Van Gundy made final decisions on personnel in Detroit.
Bower helped lead Detroit back into the playoffs in 2015-16 for the first time in five years, and he helped engineer trades for All-Star Blake Griffin and point guard Reggie Jackson. Bower has led two NBA franchises -- New Orleans and Detroit -- out of the lottery and into the postseason as a GM.
He also worked in the NBA and college as a coach.