SBD/March 3, 2011/Franchises

Pistons Talks Continuing With Gores Despite Expiration Of Exclusive Negotiating Period

Gores (l) and Davidson reportedly remain committed to reaching a deal for Pistons
Despite last week's "expiration of another exclusive negotiating period," talks between Platinum Equity Chair & CEO Tom Gores and Pistons Owner Karen Davidson for control of the franchise are "very much ongoing," according to Ellis & Gallagher of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. A source said that Gores "remains committed to purchasing the Pistons, Davidson remains committed to sell to Gores, and the NBA is committed to seeing the deal become a reality." But the source added that a "final deal still could take several weeks." Should the Gores deal fall apart, Davidson "could try again with the Ilitch family" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 3/3). In Detroit, Vincent Goodwill cites a source as saying that "although things are progressing, a deal may not be reached for a few weeks due to many variables in place, which includes the matter of a possible lockout this summer" (DETROIT NEWS, 3/3). Meanwhile, Olympia Entertainment President & CEO Tom Wilson yesterday indicated that Red Wings and Tigers Owner Mike Ilitch still is interested in purchasing the Pistons. Wilson said Ilitch still is operating under terms of a non-disclosure agreement with Davidson, and as a result he could not comment about ongoing efforts to sell the NBA team to Gores. When pressed further about whether Ilitch, who failed to reach a deal for the team during an exclusive negotiating period with Davidson last year, still has interest in owning the Pistons, Wilson smiled and said, “We’re still under the non-disclosure agreement, so we must still have some interest” (WXYZ-ABC, 3/2).

FALLING ON HARD TIMES: In N.Y., Joanne Gerstner writes the Pistons "appear to be in chaos, a startling state for a franchise that has clicked so well on so many levels over the past decade." The "synergy now lies in disarray" thanks to "public displays of player discontent, including what appeared to be a boycott of a practice last week; the team's 22-41 record; and the drawn-out process to sell the team and the arena." Palace Sports & Entertainment President & CEO Alan Ostfield: "There is no page in the NBA sports business handbook for what is happening; it's a perfect storm of challenges right now. ... We're not hiding that things aren't where we want them to be. We hope this is just a blip" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/3).
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Detroit Pistons, NBA, Franchises

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