The time the Detroit Pistons almost had a different owner

Tom Gores, owner of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Tom Gores, owner of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons’ fate was almost changed 16 years ago.

As he revealed on “How Hungry are You?” with Serge Ibaka, Steve Ballmer, the current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, tried to buy the Detroit Pistons back in 2006.

Ballmer is known as one of the best owners in sports, as he not only loves the game, but has deep pockets and isn’t afraid to throw it around.

He’s from Detroit, and was once very interested in buying the team from Bill Davidson. Here’s what he had to say:

"“Maybe 2006. The Super Bowl was in Detroit. Seattle, where I live, the Seattle Seahawks were playing. And so I went and made a call to Bill Davidson, who at the time was owner of the Pistons. He said ‘no I don’t want to sell the team.’ He was in his 80s. I said ‘anything ever changes, you call me. Your family, anything. Call me.’ He died, nobody ever called me. The team got sold. I mean, it’s my luck cause I’m with the L.A. Clippers. Much better for me at this stage. I love L.A., I don’t have to fly 4 hours from Seattle to Detroit, to the cold… so very lucky for me.”"

It may have been lucky for Ballmer, who now runs one of the most successful teams in the NBA, but it hasn’t been so lucky for the Detroit Pistons, who have struggled mightily under the leadership of Tom Gores.

The Detroit Pistons and Tom Gores

Gores has been a controversial figure since buying the Detroit Pistons in 2011.

He has done some things for the community and moved the team downtown from their previous location in Auburn Hills, which has mostly been a success.

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But there has also been controversy surrounding his company’s ownership of Securus, a business that essentially rips off prisoners on phone calls and has drawn a lot of criticism to the point that some have suggested he should sell the team.

There’s also the fact that the Detroit Pistons have pretty much been the worst team in the NBA since he took over. Gores entered the season with a 296-462 record as an owner and the team has had just one winning season in his 11 years.

Ballmer, on the other hand, has gone 250-160 since taking over as owner of the Clippers, who have not only been successful on the court, but are one of the most financially lucrative teams in the NBA.

While it appears that Gores finally has the right people in place to turn this thing around, it’s hard not to wonder what the Detroit Pistons might look like right now if Ballmer had been able to buy the team back in the mid 2000’s.

Gores has been through a slew of coaches, has had no consistency and has been accused of spending a lot more time in LA than with the team in Detroit.

Hopefully, the addition of Cade Cunningham is the first step to getting the Detroit Pistons back to the winning ways they enjoyed for decades under Bill Davidson.

Until then, we’ll just have to be patient and think about what could have been.

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