Suns, Mercury officially hire Pistons executive Josh Bartelstein as CEO

Apr 10, 2023, 11:18 AM | Updated: 11:32 am

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns on Monday formally announced the hire of former Detroit Pistons executive Josh Bartelstein as the new CEO of the NBA team and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the move on March 4.

“Josh understands our culture and values and shares our strategic vision for the Suns and Mercury,” Suns and Mercury owner Mat Ishbia said in a release. “His proven leadership abilities and deep experience in both the business and basketball sides of an organization makes him uniquely positioned to transform the teams into the best basketball franchises on and off the court.”

New owner Mat Ishbia reportedly targeted Bartelstein to aid in the overhaul of the Robert Sarver-led culture that was previously in place. General manager James Jones will still report directly to Ishbia, Wojnarowski added.

Bartelstein, 33, became the assistant general manager in Detroit in July 2022, according to his LinkedIn page. He previously spent two years as the Pistons’ VP of business and basketball operations and nearly five years as an executive under Palace Sports and Entertainment vice chairman Arn Tellem.

He was vital in many different projects with the team and city, including relocating the Pistons to downtown Detroit, Wojnarowski said.

Bartelstein will replace former CEO Jason Rowley, who was also reportedly involved in different workplace misconduct allegations. Rowley resigned from his position in early February. He had been the Suns’ president and CEO since 2012.

The new CEO played basketball for Ishbia’s rival school, Michigan, from 2009-13 and was also a walk-on like the Suns’ owner at Michigan State. Bartelstein was a captain on the 2012-13 team that helped Michigan reach its first Final Four in 20 years.

Wojnarowski added that Bartelstein is the son of Mark Bartelstein, one of the league’s most prominent player representatives and the CEO of Priority Sports and Entertainment based in Chicago.

Bartelstein is from Highland Park, Ill.

“The Suns and Mercury are world-class organizations with passionate fans and a strong commitment to the Phoenix community. I’m grateful to be joining at such an exciting and pivotal time for the teams, the arena and the city,” Bartelstein said in a release.

“We will remain focused on creating a culture where our team members can thrive, elevating the fan experience and making a positive impact on the Valley. I look forward to working with the team to collectively build on this foundation and usher in the Suns’ and Mercury’s next chapter of growth and success.”

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