SBD/July 2, 2013/Franchises

Pistons Owner Tom Gores Discusses Team's Future, Possible Downtown Move

Gores was disappointed in the team's progress but optimistic for the future
Pistons Owner Tom Gores discussed his team philosophy, plans for the NBA Draft and free agency in a two-part Q&A conducted by Vince Ellis of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. The following are excerpts from the interview:

Q: How do you balance the team’s youth movement vs. desire to win now?
Gores: Everybody wants to win, but you don’t want to win at all costs. Even this off-season for example, obviously we want to make moves, we want to do our thing, but we don’t want to do anything to affect the long-term future of the franchise. I think it’s very tricky. We want to develop our young people and believe in them. ... As much as we want to win, I think the most important thing is that we’re playing to our maximum.

Q: Is there a playoffs-or-else mandate?
Gores: I want to see solid progress, but I’m not shying away from the fact that we need to find our way to the playoffs. I don’t want to shy away from that. I think that should always be something that we strive for. ... Remember, we bought [the team] in the lockout season. Last year was [our] first real year and we’ve made a lot of progress, I think, as ownership in building a good core of young folks. We’ve got room to make some moves. I don’t want to shy away from making the playoffs because we really should.

Q: Do you have a timetable for when you would like to be competing for a championship?
Gores: I’m still a relatively young guy and I’ve been telling everybody I want to do it real fast. Obviously, you gotta be realistic and they try to keep me realistic. I would like to be in the hunt over these next few years and I’m going to do everything that I can to try to get us there. I’m serious about getting us there and try to get not only the Pistons back on that map, but Detroit back on that map. The Pistons have such a great history. I feel we need to get back there and a championship is high on my list (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 7/1).

Q: What have you learned in your two seasons of owning the Pistons?
Gores: We got to put a winning team on the floor. I would like to get the fans back. I feel like we need to win their hearts, win their hearts back. It’s a complicated business. ... I felt we’d get it there faster, but we haven’t and I’m disappointed about that. But I got a lot of excitement about these next few years.

Q: Any differences between the NBA and your other business dealings with Platinum Equity?
Gores: There are a lot of similarities, but I think there are a few differences. One big difference is that this is a community asset. Obviously people are affected and fans and so on. I think that part of the job we’ve done pretty good. We’re making sure the Pistons and ourselves are involved in the community at the business level. ... You got to have high communication. You got to be able to over communicate. It’s philosophy and core values. ... Core values and hard work and really it’s not just about winning. You can’t win at all costs.

Q: The possibility of the Pistons moving downtown will probably be asked until your dying day. ... Where do stand currently on the possibility of moving downtown?
Gores: I’m hearing about that stuff and really my No. 1 focus has been how to move the Pistons and the franchise back to the top. ... Right now the Palace is our home and I’m excited about that. ... I’m also excited about what also is going on in Detroit. ... We’ve got a great home that’s taken care of. It’s still considered, regardless of the questions about the location, one of the best facilities in the league and that’s not by me. That’s really by the experts. That’s our home right now (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 7/2).
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