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detroit pistons

tyler scott / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The return of professional basketball to downtown Detroit adds another piece to the city's fast-paced economic rebound two years out of bankruptcy, but some say all neighborhoods have to share in the turnaround.

The Pistons are expected to start next season at Little Caesars Arena, which is the centerpiece of a coming 50-block entertainment district in a part of downtown that's already nearly at capacity with new residents and new businesses.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

The Detroit Pistons are coming back to ... well, Detroit.

This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about who stands to win and who stands to lose after the Pistons leave the Palace of Auburn Hills for the new Little Caesar's Arena in downtown Detroit.

They also discuss the State's argument that literacy is not a constitutional right when it comes to a lawsuit filed on behalf of Detroit school children, and the future of Detroit's two major newspapers.


Seated left  to right, Detroit Mayor Mike Dugan, Illitch Holdings CEO Chris Illitch, Pistons owner Tom Gores, NBA commissioner Adam Silver
Tyler Scott

Detroit’s professional basketball team, The Pistons, is saying goodbye to its stadium at The Palace of Auburn Hills and relocating to downtown Detroit.

 

Little Caesars Arena is still under construction in downtown Detroit. Beginning in the Fall of 2017, the new stadium will host both the Red Wings, Detroit’s national hockey team, and now the Pistons.

 

With the Pistons relocating to a shared space downtown, Mayor Mike Duggan says Detroit will be the only city with four major sports teams in the downtown district.

 

Flickr user Kevin Ward/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Detroit Pistons are under fire for a lack of diversity in the NBA franchise's spending.

The Detroit Association of Black Organizations Inc. is considering a boycott of the Pistons and the NBA. The group said the league does not support black businesses. In a sport that is dominated by black athletes, this seems to be a real disconnect.

Rev. Horace Sheffield III is the CEO of the Detroit Association of Black Organizations. He joined Stateside to talk about the effort, and what they would like to see from the Pistons. 

Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy
Keith Allison / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

It has been a rough week for Detroit sports over the last week. The Pistons and the Red Wings both had their seasons come to an end in the first round of their respective playoffs. The Tigers were swept at home by their division rival, the Cleveland Indians. But on the horizon later this week, the Detroit Lions are getting ready for the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Red Wings will host Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday.
Mark Goebel / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It’s playoff time for a pair of Michigan sports teams as the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Pistons have kicked off their respective post seasons.

The Wings emerged from the weekend trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning two games to one, with the all-important Game 4 at the Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday.

The Pistons are in what many are calling a “David vs. Goliath” matchup with the top-seeded Cavaliers, and dropped the first game of the series 106-101 in Cleveland.

Both teams have challenges in front of them. But can they advance?

Jim Harbaugh watches closely during Michigan's Spring Game.
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Last week, the NCAA finally ruled on Jim Harbaugh's satellite football camps for the University of Michigan.

They said that teams are no longer allowed to hold camps outside of their own facilities.

Earl Lloyd became the first black player in the NBA on October 31, 1950. He broke the NBA color barrier three years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.

The Associated Press reports that Lloyd died Thursday at age 86.

Lloyd made his 1950 NBA debut with the Washington Capitols, just before fellow black players Sweetwater Clifton and Chuck Cooper played their first games.

You can watch clips of that game in this video produced by the Golden State Warriors:

According to Forbes, the Detroit Pistons bring in $154 million in revenue
Kevin Ward / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Marc Stein of ESPN was the first to report the news:

The Detroit Pistons, as widely expected, fired coach Lawrence Frank on Thursday.

The dismissal of Frank has been expected for some time, after the young Pistons lost 27 of 36 games in the second half of the season before winning four of their final five.

Frank guided the Pistons to a 29-53 mark this season and was 54-94 overall in two campaigns.

Stein reports Frank "went to the playoffs three times in six seasons coaching the New Jersey Nets before his dismissal in 2009, then worked as an assistant in Boston under Doc Rivers."

Kevin Ward / Flickr

Many fans of professional basketball are disappointed that the ongoing contract dispute between players and owners may end up canceling this year’s NBA season. But in Auburn Hills, the home of the Detroit Pistons, disappointment is turning into desperation.  

Many businesses in Auburn Hills rely on the 41 games the Pistons play at the Palace each season. Pete Auger is the Auburn Hills city manager. He says the local economy supported by the games is more than just the thousand people who work at the Palace. 

“You also have restaurants and bars that thrive off of those dates that you get 20-22,000 people coming to one location. All those locations are reporting to us their business is down 40 to 60 percent," says Auger.  

Auger says the city is also missing the exposure that comes from having a pro-sports team identified with the community. That lack of exposure may continue for a while. NBA players this week rejected the owners’ latest offer and that may result in the entire season being canceled.

Detroit Pistons sold

Apr 8, 2011
(courtesy Detroit Pistons)

 

The Associated Press reports a Los Angeles financier is the new owner of the NBA's Detroit Pistons. 

Billionaire investor Tom Gores has agreed to buy the Detroit Pistons and other properties. The tentative deal announced Friday must be approved by the NBA.  It includes the team, The Palace of Auburn Hills and DTE Energy Music Theatre. Gores is buying the properties from Karen Davidson, who became the owner after her husband, Bill, died in March 2009. Gores is the chairman and CEO of Platinum Equity.

CBSSports.com is reporting that the final deal to sell the Detroit Pistons will be completed by the middle of April.  The NBA franchise has been on the block since the death of longtime owner Bill Davidson. There have been many suitors, but it appears the winner is billionaire Tom Gores.  

CBSSports senior writer Ken Berger says the sale could be made official in a few weeks. 

Word in league circles is that negotiations to sell the Pistons to billionaire Tom Gores are far enough along to expect the matter to come to a vote by the Board of Governors April 14-15 in New York. League approval will be a welcome development for the organization, whose basketball operations department was paralyzed by the proposed sale. The Pistons are one of a handful of teams not to complete a single roster transaction this season. 

One stumbling block that has slowed the sale of the Pistons is the question 'How much is the franchise actually worth?' Forbes recently reported the value of the franchise has dropped about 25%.

According to Forbes, the Detroit Pistons bring in $154 million in revenue
Kevin Ward / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There's been a lot of talk about who might buy the Detroit Pistons.   Several people with close ties to Detroit have been said to be considering paying as much as a half billion dollars for the NBA franchise.   But there's word now that Middle Eastern investors may be in the mix.

Here's the story from The National of Abu Dhabi:

Investment groups in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Qatar are in separate discussions to buy the Detroit Pistons basketball team, which has been valued at close to US$500 million (Dh1.83 billion).