October 05, 2010
Pizza (pizza!) mogul Mike Ilitch is set to buy the Detroit Pistons, according to the Associated Press. The current ownership group had hoped to sell the franchise before the 2010-11 season started, and though a price hasn't been set as of yet, an agreement apparently has been made.
[Pistons] owner Karen Davidson has said she was considering a sale of the team by itself or as part of a package with Palace Sports and Entertainment, which includes The Palace of Auburn Hills, DTE Energy Music Theatre and Meadow Brook Music Festival.
Ilitch also owns the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers, and apparently was interested in branching out into teams that weren't all that good. If the Detroit Lions weren't owned by the only major American car manufacturer that wasn't running on our tax dollars, I'd assume that they'd be next in line.
The Pistons are one of the more successful NBA teams of the last 30 years, but they're in major disrepair now, as poor planning by general manager Joe Dumars has created a capped-out team with few assets, that doesn't have the talent to sniff out a playoff berth. Though Dumars (a Detroit institution if there ever was one) has earned the right to work his way out of the mess he's created, nobody can be sure when a new owner takes over if the old regime will stay in place.
The potential move also opens up the possibility of the Pistons moving back into the actual city of Detroit, as opposed to their current home in suburban Auburn Hills. This also makes me feel incredibly old, as I remember when the Palace of Auburn Hills opened, and how it was lauded as a sort of enormodome of the future for NBA teams.
Either way, double thumbs-up from this guy.