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Instead of posting info in game threads, I figured we could use this thread to post all the info about the sale of the Pistons.

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Rumors of David Katzman as a potential buyer for the Detroit Pistons are premature | - MLive.com

Rumors of David Katzman as a potential buyer for the Detroit Pistons are premature

By Rob Otto

February 05, 2010, 11:20AM

The Internet started buzzing late Thursday afternoon that Karen Davidson, wife of late Detroit Pistons owner Bill Davidson, had found a new owner for the team. That man is David Katzman, former business partner of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.

Jeff Moss at the Detroit Sports Rag was the first to report Katzman's interest.

In 2003, Moss broke the news that the Pistons were going to fire coach Rick Carlisle days before it happened. Moss' Katzman report is originating from the same source.

A Pistons representative points out it would be impossible at this time for Katzman to buy the team, because it isn't actually for sale yet:

"Mrs. Davidson is only exploring the possibility of selling the team at this point. They haven't even gotten to the point of putting it up for sale. You can't buy it if it's not for sale, and officially the Pistons are not for sale."

But news out of Tampa Bay suggests Mrs. Davidson may be in a more comfortable position to sell the Pistons after an agreement was reached in the sale of the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning.

For months, Koules and Barrie worked to bring in additional investors in order to part ways. The safety net in the process was the backing of former owner Palace Sports & Entertainment, which helped finance the sale to OK Hockey by loaning the new owners nearly $100 million to complete the transaction.

...

Karen Davidson, widow of Palace Sports founder Bill Davidson, began exploring selling the Detroit Pistons and possibly Palace Sports, likely preferring to clear the Lightning off the books completely first.

Calls to Katzman's office for comment have not been returned.

Katzman is a graduate of Michigan State University, and did his grad work at the Detroit College of Law. He is the Managing Partner of Camelot Venture Group, a Farmington Hills investment company. Among the companies Camelot owns is Fathead, makers of life-size vinyl wall graphics of professional athletes.

In 2005, Katzman joined with fellow Michigan native Gilbert to buy the Cleveland Cavaliers. Katzman became the team's second-largest stockholder and Vice Chairman of the both the Cavs and Gilbert-owned Quicken Loans.

At some point in 2009, after a rumored falling out with Gilbert, Katzman quietly left both Quicken and the Cavaliers. He was removed from the Cavaliers' website and was not included in this year's media guide.

According to sources familiar with the situation, the sale of Katzman's 15 percent share of the Cavs have not been finalized, a hurdle he would have to clear before ever being able to enter into an agreement to buy the Pistons.

According to a Cleveland Plain Dealer report, Katzman's share may be worth as much as $70 million.

Everything at this point sounds preliminary at best, but Katzman certainly has the resources to purchase the Pistons if he is interested.

Justin Rogers contributed to this report.

Was Katzman a bookie at MSU too?

It would be fun to have two rival owners like that.

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Lightning sold; Palace no longer involved | freep.com | Detroit Free Press

Lightning sold; Palace no longer involved

TAMPA — Boston financier Jeff Vinik has agreed to buy the Tampa Bay Lightning, taking on the challenge of turning around a franchise that has struggled since winning the Stanley Cup in 2004.

Vinik is purchasing Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment from a group led by Oren Koules and Len Barrie, the team said in a released statement today. The deal is contingent on approval from the league’s Board of Governors, which is expected in three to four weeks.

The deal also ends Palace Sports & Entertainment's relationship with the Lightning. The Detroit Pistons' umbrella company, owned by Karen Davidson, sold the Lightning in 2008, but when time came to close the transaction, the new owner's financing fell through -- so PS&E still held the note and could have gotten the Lightning back if the new owner defaulted on the debt.

Vinik's deal will take care of that issue, according to Tom Wilson, president of Palace Sports & Entertainment.

“I’ve been an avid hockey fan my whole life and I pledge to our fans that I will work my hardest to build the Lightning into a world class organization both on and off the ice,” said Vinik, who will have sole control of the team.

Vinik agreed to buy the team, the company that operates the St. Pete Times Forum, and 5.5 acres of land adjacent to the downtown arena. Financial terms were not disclosed, however it’s believed to be substantially less than the $206 million OK Hockey paid in June 2008.

“The day is a bittersweet one for us, as I believe we have established a strong foundation on the ice and begun to point things in a positive direction for the Lightning,” said Koules, chairman of OK Hockey. “We look forward to seeing Jeff take the team from here and move it forward.”

The 50-year-old Vinik, a minority owner of the Red Sox, managed Fidelity’s Magellan Fund before founding Vinik Asset Management.

The Lightning announced the deal in a three-paragraph statement. Vinik was not available for comment, and is expected to be formally introduced as owner and officially take control of the team when the sale closes in a few weeks.

Koules is a Hollywood producer and Barrie, a one-time NHL player who’s now a real estate developer in Canada. One of their first moves as co-owners was to lure Barry Melrose out of retirement to coach the Lightning, a move that lasted 16 games.

Tampa Bay, led by coach Rick Tocchet and stars Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, was in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference heading into today’s games. Brian Lawton is the general manager.

The Lightning host the Calgary Flames on Saturday night.

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Well this guy sounds like he would be a good prospect for an owner, strong Michigan ties and lots of dollars. If Karen Davidson can sell it to a guy like that I will think her slightly less of a gold digger.

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What..this news is confusing...I was led to believe, by some posters, this would never happen, The collapse of the Lightining sale, would ruin Palace Sports and Entertainment and prevent any possibility of a deal between Illitch Holding and Palace ownership..

Next you guys are going to tell me that Santa isn't real and the "Rock" isn't a tooth fairy.

I'm glad it's Saturday, I need to start drinking now, this news is very upsetting. People lied to me.:confused:

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Tom Wilson resigned which surprised me. He has said more than once (both before and after Davidson's death) that there was a perpetuation plan in place and that it would be business as usual. Some have speculated he's part of a group trying to buy the Pistons but why quit then?

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Tom Wilson resigned which surprised me. He has said more than once (both before and after Davidson's death) that there was a perpetuation plan in place and that it would be business as usual. Some have speculated he's part of a group trying to buy the Pistons but why quit then?

It's actually more professional that he did resign. No discussion or inference of inpropriety or insider dealings.

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Is there any chance that Mike Illitich could be a candidate here? I assume he has the $$$ to make it happen..

Ive read he is not a basketball fan, so he would not have much interest.

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What's next for Tom Wilson?

By MICHAEL ROSENBERG

FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

Tom Wilson long has been one of the most

media-friendly executives in sports.

This makes his vague answers about his exit curious. “You’ll understand soon what I’m doing,” said Wilson, the longtime president of Palace Sports &

Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons who resigned today. Will he stay in Michigan? “Perhaps. And perhaps not.” Is he running for governor?

“I get requests from Democrats and Republicans,” he said, “to run for the other party. It’s just so nice that they take the time to ask.” (After that crack, I pinned him down: No, he is not running for governor. Hey, I had to ask.)

Will he join a group that is trying to purchase the Pistons? “I really can’t comment on that,” Wilson said. He acknowledged that he has been “approached by half a dozen” potential owners and that it

would be a conflict of interest for him to run the Palace and be an advocate of one of the bidders. So you can read whatever you want into that. At

least he left the door open.

Whatever Wilson does, he knows this: His next journey probably won’t be as interesting as his last one. Wilson’s story, in many ways, is the

story of the late-20th Century sports and entertainment boom — it made him, and, in some impressive ways, he helped make it. Thirty-two years ago this week, the 27-year-old Wilson started working for the Pistons. He was

the sixth man — and not in a cool Vinnie Johnson sort of way. He was the sixth employee in the front office, assisting the guy in charge of

ticket sales. (Ticket sales were pretty much the only sales. Advertising revenue was almost nonexistent.) Wilson was making $14,000 a year. He had

gotten into sports almost by accident. He had been a struggling actor in Hollywood, and when the TV detective series “Barnaby Jones” filmed

scenes at the Forum, Wilson got to know some Los Angeles Lakers players and staffers. The Lakers hired him to work in sales. When Wilson joined the Pistons, he figured he’d stay two years, then leave for a job that paid

better. Within two months, his boss left and “they made me the head of season tickets. Now there was no one to head.”A year later, he was running the organization. He got a raise to $16,000 a year. Nobody knows what would have happened to the Pistons if Wilson had left, but they were much

better off that he stayed. He helped the team move from downtown Detroit to the Silverdome, then hatched a plan for the Palace with owner Bill

Davidson. It is one of the most important buildings in all of sports. People said Davidson was crazy to build an arena entirely with private money, but that

turned out to be the key to its success. They built the Palace with 180 suites, far more than any arena in history. Many of the suites were in

the lower bowl, which was revolutionary. If there had been public money at stake at that time, who knows if the Pistons would have been able to spend so much on seating that served so few? “This place literally changed an industry,” Wilson said, and that is true. “The buildings we opened with, most are gone. Orlando, Charlotte, Miami — they’ve all been replaced. This begat

Chicago, begat Phoenix.” The Palace empire grew from there. DTE Energy

Music Theatre has been the highest-grossing outdoor amphitheater in the country for almost two decades. Davidson bought the Tampa Bay Lightning and won the Stanley Cup.

It has not been a perfect run. The Lightning was a money pit, and Wilson admits that changing the Pistons’ colors from red, white and blue to teal was a mistake. But with typical Wilsonian cheer, he cracked that if the Pistons hadn’t gone to teal, he never would have experienced the joy of switching back to red, white and blue.

When Davidson died in March 2009, change was inevitable. Davidson’s widow, Karen, does not have the desire to own a major sports franchise.“You just assume, when he passes, everything will stay the same,” Wilson said. “And it can’t. It just can’t.”No, it can’t stay the same. That probably explains Wilson’s decision as much as anything. And as he leaves an empire, it’s worth

remembering that when he arrived, it was a more like a shack.

Contact MICHAEL ROSENBERG: 313-222-6052

or mrosenberg@freepress.com.

Wilson addressed the conflict of interest issue I highlighted the passage.

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It's actually more professional that he did resign. No discussion or inference of inpropriety or insider dealings.

It's not necessarily more professional since it highly unlikely that Wilson was any more than part of the value or baggage of the organization in the eyes of any bidder. I'm sure the family will rely on attorneys and finance people to handle the sale.

Davidson's son released a statement about Wilson that was read during the game last night, that's the son who writes poetry, lived in Chicago and seemingly had nothing to do with his father's businesses when he was alive. I suspect Wilson found himself on the outside looking in, with others in charge now.

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It's not necessarily more professional since it highly unlikely that Wilson was any more than part of the value or baggage of the organization in the eyes of any bidder. I'm sure the family will rely on attorneys and finance people to handle the sale.

Davidson's son released a statement about Wilson that was read during the game last night, that's the son who writes poetry, lived in Chicago and seemingly had nothing to do with his father's businesses when he was alive. I suspect Wilson found himself on the outside looking in, with others in charge now.

I suspect he didn't..he was still 100% in charge...knows the financials and complex securitizations of the income streams of PS&E better than anyone.

He is more valuable to any prospective buying group than any other individual available, he alone could give any investment bank or lender enough confidence in that operating group to secure financing..

He did it for the reasons I explained, it was the class thing to do..

Edited by sportz4life

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What..this news is confusing...I was led to believe, by some posters, this would never happen, The collapse of the Lightining sale, would ruin Palace Sports and Entertainment and prevent any possibility of a deal between Illitch Holding and Palace ownership..

Next you guys are going to tell me that Santa isn't real and the "Rock" isn't a tooth fairy.

I'm glad it's Saturday, I need to start drinking now, this news is very upsetting. People lied to me.:confused:

To be accurate about it, it was a situation where people were throwing out ideas about something, while admitting they didn't really know the full details, and one person acting like an ******* throughout the thread. I'll let you and everybody else guess who that person was.

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To be accurate about it, it was a situation where people were throwing out ideas about something, while admitting they didn't really know the full details, and one person acting like an ******* throughout the thread. I'll let you and everybody else guess who that person was.

We each have our perspective about it dont we..usually I just admit when I'm wrong.. I'm all for ideas..when they're realistic rather than hail mary's.

Edited by sportz4life

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I suspect he didn't..he was still 100% in charge...knows the financials and complex securitizations of the income streams of PS&E better than anyone.

He is more valuable to any prospective buying group than any other individual available, he alone could give any investment bank or lender enough confidence in that operating group to secure financing..

He did it for the reasons I explained, it was the class thing to do..

Thank you for explaining that but given my business is mergers and acquisitions, I know a fair amount about the subject. The financials, security arrangements and income streams aren't located in somebody's head.

If he were as valuable as you say where do you factor in what he just cost the organization by taking his unique knowledge out of the equation? And what if he did so to join a group that wants to take a run at the Pistons? That had nothing to do with being professional, it was to gain a competitive advantage.

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Thank you for explaining that but given my business is mergers and acquisitions, I know a fair amount about the subject. The financials, security arrangements and income streams aren't located in somebody's head.

If he were as valuable as you say where do you factor in what he just cost the organization by taking his unique knowledge out of the equation? And what if he did so to join a group that wants to take a run at the Pistons? That had nothing to do with being professional, it was to gain a competitive advantage.

disagree..some people have a personal code of ethics, he may have felt more comfortable discussing internal business not being an employee of PS&E. He may have felt if he were to discuss proprietary info as while he was still an employee, it was a breach of conduct.

Some individual still do have ethics..He didn't devalue the organization, I think their GM has done a fine job of that without anyone else's help..any future purchaser can always make an offer to Mr. Wilson if he feels his skills are of value.

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Alan Ostfield on WDFN: The Red Wings have building issues and we have a great building - we'll see what happens

By Justin Rogers | MLive.com

February 17, 2010, 6:00PM

It's still up in the air where the Detroit Red Wings will play their home games in a few years, but new Palace Sports & Entertainment president Alan Ostfield tells WDFN-AM Detroit's Shep and Sharp that it makes sense for the Red Wings and the Pistons to share a venue.

"Obviously you've heard those rumors, and everybody else has, and there's a lot of noise out there," said Ostfield. "The Wings have their building issues and we have a great building here, so I think it's natural for people to assume that. Obviously time will tell what will happen there."

Ostfield goes on to say that it doesn't make sense for professional sports teams to have separate venues, especially in the current economic climate.

"It makes sense, going forward, for two indoor professional sports teams to play in the same building," said Ostfield. "These buildings, what do they cost? $400 million? In today's economy, municipalities are not so willing to contribute a lot of funds. So these buildings are tough to justify economically. And having two of them is harder to justify economically. I don't think there's anyone who will argue that it makes sense for each team to have its own building."

Ostfield briefly mentions some of the benefits of sharing a stadium.

"When you play in the same building you get incredible synergies," said Ostfield. "You obviously get all the events, which is a great boon for sponsors and suite holders. It's a great, great thing."

Listen to the full interview below (the Red Wings discussion starts at the 7:22 mark):

Alan Ostfield on WDFN: The Red Wings have building issues and we have a great building - we'll see what happens | Detroit Red Wings - - MLive.com

Interview from Tom Wilson's successor

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disagree..some people have a personal code of ethics, he may have felt more comfortable discussing internal business not being an employee of PS&E. He may have felt if he were to discuss proprietary info as while he was still an employee, it was a breach of conduct.

Some individual still do have ethics..He didn't devalue the organization, I think their GM has done a fine job of that without anyone else's help..any future purchaser can always make an offer to Mr. Wilson if he feels his skills are of value.

He might have left for the right reasons, I initially said he didn't necessarily leave for those reasons. I've been involved with several of these situations (owner dies and family wants to cash out) and in many cases the passions run high. Kids flock back, long time associates of the owner feel undervalued or overlooked, anger ensues, etc. I'm not saying any of this is true for Wilson, but I'm betting if he liked where things were going, liked his chances and the chances to continue business with the values and goals of Davidson, he would have stuck around.

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He might have left for the right reasons, I initially said he didn't necessarily leave for those reasons. I've been involved with several of these situations (owner dies and family wants to cash out) and in many cases the passions run high. Kids flock back, long time associates of the owner feel undervalued or overlooked, anger ensues, etc. I'm not saying any of this is true for Wilson, but I'm betting if he liked where things were going, liked his chances and the chances to continue business with the values and goals of Davidson, he would have stuck around.

We're gonna find out aren't we.

Mr. D's death wasn't a surprise to anyone including Mr. D. The estate plan was well thought out and executed. what was going to transpire and the line of succession was well know to all parties.

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Investment team may seek Pistons - Detroit News and Information - Crain's Detroit Business

Investment team may seek Pistons

Appleby: "We would definitely take a look'

The Detroit Pistons may become the target of an investment consortium that includes the owners of three U.S. pro sports franchises and is publicly fronted by a Rochester businessman.

“It's something that we would definitely take a look at,” said Andy Appleby, chairman and CEO of marketing and management firm General Sports and Entertainment L.L.C.

Appleby, who was previously an executive for the company that manages the Pistons, is an investor and chairman of Derby County F.C. Ltd., an English professional soccer team (and its 33,597-seat Pride Park Stadium) that he co-owns with a group that bought the team for $100 million in January 2008.

The group wants to buy a team in one of the U.S. major leagues, for $200 million to $300 million, within the next 12 months, Appleby said. He cautioned that it's still very early and a list of potential teams is still being assembled for consideration.

The investment group is known to include these deep-pocket names:

• Jeff Mallett, who made his fortune as president and COO of Yahoo Inc. from 1995 to 2002 and is principal owner of the San Francisco Giants among numerous investments. He became principal investor in the Derby County franchise in March 2009 and is an investor in the new Major League Soccer expansion team that begins play next year in Vancouver.

• Tom Ricketts, co-owner and chairman of the Chicago Cubs, which his family bought in October for $845 million. He's CEO of Chicago investment bank Incapital L.L.C. and sits on the board of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.

• Dave Freeman, founder and CEO of Nashville-based investment firm 36 Venture Capital and managing partner of Predators Holdings L.L.C., which owns hockey's Nashville Predators. His money comes from the 2007 sale of medical waste handler Commodore Medical Services, which he founded.

• Bill Luby, founding partner of New York-based private equity firm Seaport Capital, which invests in media, communications and business- and information-services companies. One of the investments is in Mandalay Baseball Properties L.L.C., which owns several minor-league baseball teams, including the Detroit Tigers' Double-A affiliate the Erie SeaWolves. He's a former managing director at Chase Capital.

• Jeff Martinovich, chairman and CEO of Newport News, Va.-based wealth management consultants MICG Investment Management L.L.C.

• W. Brett Wilson, co-founder of Canada's FirstEnergy Capital Corp., a brokerage firm in the oil and gas sector. He's retired from the firm but remains non-executive chairman. He owns the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx minor-league baseball team in Jackson, Tenn., and also is managing director and president of Calgary-based Prairie Merchant Corp., which invests in energy, agriculture, real estate, sports and entertainment industries.

It's believed there are at least two or three more investors in the Derby County consortium, which would likely be the same group that would bid on the Pistons. Appleby declined to discuss the other investors, but they have been indentified by the British press in coverage of Derby County.

Karen Davidson inherited the Pistons when her husband, Guardian Industries Inc. Chairman Bill Davidson, died last March. She said in January that she's interested in selling the team, valued by Forbes.com at $480 million, with or separately from Palace Sports & Entertainment, the venue management company.

Sports industry insiders have said they expect the Pistons to sell for less than the Forbes estimate.

Tom Wilson, who left Palace Sports after 32 years to join Detroit-based Ilitch Holdings Inc. last week, said previously that a half-dozen groups had expressed interest in the Pistons. He didn't identify any of them.

The Ilitch organization, which includes the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers, has declined to speculate on rumors it might be interested in buying the Pistons or cooperating with the team on building a joint arena downtown.

Chris Ilitch, president of Ilitch Holdings, also did not rule out any of the deals.

Appleby previously was interested in buying the St. Louis Blues and in bringing a minor-league baseball team to suburban Detroit, deals that didn't bear fruit. His company did own the Fort Wayne Wizards, a Class A minor-league baseball affiliate of the San Diego Padres, for several seasons until selling the team in 2006.

Appleby worked at Palace Sports from 1986 to 1998, leaving as a senior vice president to found General Sports.

General Sports specializes in consulting, team management, marketing, sponsorships and has synthetic turf and naming-rights divisions.

“After owning a major league team for over two years now, I'm more cautious,” he said. “That doesn't mean I haven't loved every minute of owning that team.”

He said that if given the chance he would still have bought Derby County, which has struggled on the field but regularly draws crowds of more than 30,000.

“We've learned a lot,” he said.

Bill Shea: (313) 446-1626, bshea@crain.com

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Potential sale of Pistons will be slowed by looming NBA labor trouble | - MLive.com

Potential sale of Pistons will be slowed by looming NBA labor trouble

Many Detroit Pistons fans wonder how long it will be before the team is sold. Some of them are concerned the Pistons will not be able to make the moves necessary to get back into championship contention as long as the ownership situation remains in limbo.

No one knows how long a sale will take. But the best guess?

A long, long time.

The last anyone knew, the Pistons were not even officially for sale yet. The latest news is that they are going through steps to prepare to be put on the market.

In addition to the fact that the sale of a sports franchise is a slow-moving process, the economic situation means there are fewer people willing and able to purchase an NBA franchise.

But what will really prolong the process of a sale is the possibility of a lockout following the 2010-11 season.

Let’s say you’re a rich guy with $400 million or so burning a hole in your pocket and you decide you want to buy an NBA team. Do you think you might want to know a few details about the labor agreement that is going to affect your sport for the foreseeable future before you write the check?

Do you want to buy a team and then, in a matter of a few months, face the prospect of closing the doors, laying off your employees and absorbing losses while you wait for an agreement to be hammered out?

There is a chance that a new labor agreement will be beneficial to owners and could make buying a team more appealing than it is right now. But potential buyers might want to wait to be certain of that fact.

And if a new agreement makes owning a team more lucrative, it would be smart for a current owner to hold on to a team and sell it after an agreement is reached. After all, a CBA that makes it more profitable to own a team likely would drive up the price of a team.

A lockout looms. Both sides have started the typical saber-rattling that always proceeds the expiration of a CBA. The owners say they can’t live without a hard salary cap. The players say they won’t take one.

That is a major problem.

Labor disagreements are common, but something smells different this time around. It appears that the NBA faces a similar situation that the NHL faced a few years back. A long, long lockout seems very likely.

Will the owners blink? Will the players decide a hard cap is acceptable -- or at least more acceptable than not getting a paycheck at all for six months or so -- and cave?

And if you’re considering buying a team, wouldn’t you want to know the answers to these questions before you buy?

Clearly, people who own sports franchises have deep pockets. They are rich. But wealthy people didn’t get wealthy by sinking hundreds of millions of dollars into a business that has an unpredictable future.

Unless current Pistons owner Karen Davidson decides it’s worth taking a beating financially and is willing to sell the Pistons at a deep discount, she’s going to have the team on her hands for a while. If she decides she wants to get the best return possible, she’s going to have to wait.

How long will it be before the Pistons are sold? Tough to tell. But I’d bet Pistons fans will be asking the same question in September.

September 2011, that is.

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Pistons owner Davidson: 'We're looking for a buyer' | freep.com | Detroit Free Press

Pistons owner Davidson: 'We're looking for a buyer'

Pistons owner Karen Davidson said Wednesday that the team was definitely for sale.

“We’re looking for a buyer,” she told the Free Press at a Pistons charity event in Detroit.

That is a slight change from Davidson’s initial position, revealed in late January, that she was exploring a possible sale. Davidson assumed control of the franchise after the March 13, 2009, death of her husband, Bill.

Last month, the Free Press reported that Citigroup had been retained to assess the value of the Pistons — which Forbes recently placed at $479 million, fourth-highest in the NBA — and probably would broker a sale.

The NBA is committed to keeping the franchise in Detroit. NBA owners must approve any sale in the 30-team league.

Despite the Pistons’ struggles on the court and the difficult Michigan economy, Alan Ostfield, the CEO and president of Palace Sports and Entertainment, said the organization had a very successful first quarter.

The trade publication Pollstar reported that the Palace sold more concert tickets than every arena in the country except Madison Square Garden. Plus, the Pistons still ranked eighth in the NBA in average attendance.

Those factors certainly do not hurt PS&E’s value. But are the Pistons any closer to being sold?

“Um … on the calendar, yes,” Davidson said with a laugh. “There is interest, though.”

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Michael Rosenberg: Pistons in limbo until Karen Davidson can sell Palace Sports & Entertainment | freep.com | Detroit Free Press

Pistons in limbo until Karen Davidson can sell Palace Sports & Entertainment

Karen Davidson did not hesitate.

“We’re looking for a buyer,” she said Wednesday at the Pistons’ Motor City Makeover event at the Butzel Family Center on Detroit’s east side.

This is a slight change from Davidson’s initial position that she is exploring a possible sale, but it is not a surprising one. She has made it very clear privately that she does not aspire to be an NBA owner.

Are the Pistons any closer to being sold?

“Um … on the calendar, yes,” she said with a laugh. “There is interest, though.”

This much is clear:

•1. Davidson is not just considering a sale — she is pursuing one.

•2. For a variety of reasons, the Pistons are highly likely to stay in Michigan.

•3. The sooner this sale goes through, the better it is for everybody.

•4. “Soon” might be a pipe dream.

It takes passion and commitment to own a successful team, and Davidson has neither. That’s not her fault. It is just who she is. In a way, the Pistons are lucky that she knows she doesn’t want to own the team, so she can sell it to somebody with a vision.

The Palace had an extremely profitable first quarter, but Davidson said that had no bearing on the plans to sell. I asked if she could envision the Pistons being in the same hands in two years, and she said, “I couldn’t say. It’s like the hardest house to sell.”

What makes it hard? It’s expensive, the economy is weak, and most of us don’t have a half-billion dollars in our checking account.

Davidson wants to sell the Pistons and Palace together, which means the Pistons would stay put. Obviously, if a buyer wanted to move the team, that buyer would not want to own the Palace, since it is fairly difficult to tie the arena to a pickup truck and drag it to another state. As long as Davidson is determined to make this a package deal, the Pistons will remain in Auburn Hills. I asked her if the sale is complicated by the fact that she is selling the team and the Palace, and she said, “I think that makes it less complicated, truthfully, because if you buy the team, I would think you would want to buy the arena. You don’t want to be a tenant. You have it for other uses.”

I agree with that: If you own the team, you want to own the arena. But do you also want to own DTE Energy Music Theatre? Do you want to run Meadow Brook Music Festival?

Davidson surely would like to sell them together. That way, she won’t be left holding a property she doesn’t want, and she can ask for a premium by essentially packaging most of the Detroit concert market together for one buyer. But that jacks up the price tag. And limits the number of potential buyers.

Ideally, the Pistons would cast their net now, reel in two or three potential buyers by autumn, then pick one. But, of course, we do not live in an ideal state in an ideal economy in an ideal world.

And that, Pistons fans, is a big problem. The Pistons are floating in uncertainty, and it is hampering the operation. Nobody knows who the boss will be. Nobody knows what payroll will be, whether the team can venture into the luxury tax, what the owner’s priorities are. There are a thousand little decisions and quite a few big ones that are harder to make because of the ownership situation.

The Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks have been for sale for years, and the uncertainty has made them two of the worst-run organizations in the NBA.

The Pistons have a seller. Now they need a buyer. Desperately. “Well, there’s always people with money,” Davidson said. “Really. We hope so, because money goes in a circle.”

Money does go in a circle. So do teams without a strong owner. And the Pistons are in danger of becoming one of those teams.

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