For those under the impression that GM Joe Dumars’ hands are tied in his attempts to remake the Detroit Pistons’ roster, the latest news on the team’s sale is not good.
According to multiple media reports, the sale of the franchise is not expected until at least February. In other words, it will coincide with the trade deadline and might not give Dumars the time needed to put any meaningful deals together. This year All Star Weekend begins on Feb. 17. The trade deadline is a week later on Feb. 24.
The Detroit News:
Citibank, which was hired by the widow of the late owner of the Pistons, Bill Davidson, to represent the franchise for the sale, informed potential buyers last week that the deal is unlikely to be completed until the NBA All-Star Game. The advisory to the potential buyers was confirmed by sources close to the deal.
Is seven days long enough to put together what would likely be a complex multi-team deal? I have my doubts. But then again, ownership uncertainty might not be the primary driver of Dumars’ lack of moves. That’s been unconfirmed speculation since the beginning of the seaon. It might just be that he could get little value in return for longtime veterans Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton. Prince, at the very least, would be easy to trade, but the team must weigh the value of what would come in return with the value of $11 million coming off of its balance sheet.
The sale has dragged on for months. Originally, Karen Davidson, widow of former owner Bill Davidson, said she expected the sale to be completed shortly before the start of the season. Eventually, Mike Illitch and Illitch Holdings emerged as the preferred bidder, but their exclusive 30-day negotiating window lapsed without a deal in November.
Other top contenders for purchasing the franchise include billionaire Tom Gores, a Michigan native, and George Pestrolos, a former NBA executive with the Houston Rockets. Earlier this week it was reported that a financial group out of the Middle East had interest in buying the team, but the reports were subsequently denied by the NBA.