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Jon Phelps named GM of the Grand Rapids Drive

When the clock struck midnight on July 1, starting the NBA free agency amid a frenzy of contract agreements, including double-digit annual salaries for role players and max-money deals for stars, overshadowed the deals done near the end of June.

One of those moves was the Detroit Pistons announcing the team has named Jon Phelps as general manager of the Grand Rapids Drivethe NBA D-League affiliate of the Detroit Pistons. Phelps spent the last two seasons as director of basketball operations with the Drive, so he’s been there since the beginning. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“We’re fortunate to be able to fill these two positions with guys we feel very comfortable with,” said Stan Van Gundy, the Pistons’ president of basketball operations and head coach. “Jon was in Grand Rapids with the Drive the last two years so there’s familiarity and continuity there. We’re confident he will continue to do a good job and transition well into this new role.”

Jon Phelps LinkedIn photo
Jon Phelps, GM of the Grand Rapids Drive (photo:

Phelps has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to basketball, law and specifically, the NBA collective bargaining agreement.

After spending time as a student manager for the Siena College men’s basketball team and graduating with an English degree in 2004, he spent one season as the Saints’ director of basketball operations.

Phelps moved on to Tulane University School of Law, earning his J.D. in 2012 with a certification in sports law  working with renowned sports law expert, Gabe Feldman, with whose firm Phelps spent time studying the NBA and NFL collective bargaining agreements researching. Before joining the Drive, he was an attorney at a civil litigation firm in New Orleans, LA.

The team also announced Rex Walters is the next head coach of the Drive, replacing Otis Smith.


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