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Archive → February, 2010

Tom Wilson officialy out at The Palace

From a Palace Sports and Entertainment release:

AUBURN HILLS, Feb. 17 – - Tom Wilson is resigning his position as president and chief executive officer of Palace Sports & Entertainment, Inc. and the Detroit Pistons Basketball Company. Immediately assuming Mr. Wilson’s executive roles is Alan Ostfield, currently chief operating officer of the Palace and Pistons.

“I have had the honor to be a part of the Pistons family for the last 32 years, 31 of them working along side Bill Davidson,” said Mr. Wilson. “He was a dear friend and partner. I believe that, with Mr. Davidson’s unfortunate passing, however, the time is now right for me and my family to explore many exciting opportunities that have come my way recently. With Alan, I leave the Pistons and Palace in very good hands.”

“Mr. Davidson and I built an organization of talented people and planned for an orderly leadership transition. Alan Ostfield, has been involved in every aspect of our business and helped to make every important decision we’ve made over the last 10 years.  Alan has outstanding experience in all areas of sports franchise management and operations, including strategic planning.  Now, Alan is ready to help guide the Pistons’ and Palace’s future.”

During his 32 year tenure, Wilson was lauded as a visionary in the sports and entertainment industry. Under his and Mr. Davidson’s leadership, The Palace earned Arena of the Year honors nine times, DTE Energy Music Theatre was the nation’s top-attended outdoor venue 19 consecutive years and the Pistons is heralded as one of the best marketed and most highly valued teams in the NBA. The extraordinary staff that Wilson and Davidson built remains intact.

Alan Ostfield joined the Pistons and Palace in 2000 as senior vice president for legal affairs and assumed his current title as chief operating officer of Palace Sports & Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons and as assistant general manager of the Detroit Pistons in 2002. Previously, he was senior vice president and general counsel for the San Diego Padres major league baseball club. A resident of Beverly Hills, Michigan, Mr. Ostfield earned his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and his MBA and JD degrees from Boston University.

“I have the deepest respect for Tom Wilson and the culture of excellence he and Mr. Davidson developed here,” said Mr. Ostfield. “Working with Tom has been an extraordinary professional and personal experience, and I am confident the management team we have in place can build on his achievements and momentum. I appreciate Mr. Davidson’s confidence in me as well as ownership’s trust and support as I assume these new responsibilities.”

“Alan Ostfield and Tom have functioned as an outstanding senior management team in anticipation of a seamless transition,” said Jonathan Aaron, co-personal representative of Mr. Davidson’s estate. “Tom has left his indelible mark on our organization and we want to thank him for his years of exemplary leadership.”

“I would like to wish all the best to Tom Wilson,” said Karen Davidson, wife of the late Bill Davidson. “He was close to Bill personally and professionally and was instrumental to this organization’s growth, reputation and success.”

“Our organization is like an extended family, and Tom has been a valued member of that family for years,” said Ethan Davidson, Bill Davidson’s son.  “While change always brings challenges, we are very confident in the future success of the Palace and Pistons.”

Is Tom Wilson out at The Palace?

From ClickOnDetroit.com’s Rob Parker:

ClickOnDetroit.com’s Rob Parker said Tom Wilson, CEO of Palace Sports and Entertainment is out.

According to Parker’s sources, Wilson is officially gone from the position already.

Wilson has been the president of Detroit Pistons for the past 15 years and 18 years as president of Palace Sports & Entertainment, Inc., which includes The Palace of Auburn Hills, DTE Energy Music Theatre, Meadow Brook Music Festival, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Detroit Shock.

Rob Parker is not the most reliable. I’d put the odds of this being accurate at 70-30.

But if this true, wow. Wilson was such a prominent in the organization. To speculate, this is a sign of disarray behind the scenes. I’m left with a lot of questions:

Was there a rift between Wilson and Karen Davidson? Whose decision was this? Why hasn’t the transition from Bill Davidson to Karen’s ownership been smoother?


From Steve Cameron of Sports Business Journal in 2002:

Last year, when Palace Sports & Entertainment CEO Tom Wilson approached Ostfield about exchanging his role as senior vice president of business and legal affairs for the title of chief operating officer, Ostfield asked that the move be put on hold.

"Basically, I said ‘no’ out of respect for the organization," said Ostfield, who has been with Palace since 2000. "I asked Tom to give it more time, to allow people to get more comfortable with me."

Wilson was understandably surprised.

"It’s not the usual thing you expect when someone is offered a position like that," Wilson said. "… [But] for a new guy to come in, it would be stepping on a lot of toes. Alan was extremely sensitive to that, and when we discussed [the COO job], he said, ‘Not yet. Let me earn my way.’ "

Wilson agreed to wait, but when he came back to the subject a year later, there was no debate. Wilson wanted the company’s 300 full-time and 1,500 part-time employees to begin viewing Ostfield as a policy maker.

In fact, Wilson decided he wanted the staff to think of himself and Ostfield as "1A and "1B."

Game Review: Are the Detroit Pistons making a playoff push?

Traditional box scoreAdvanced box scoreGameFlow


With the Pistons’ 107-85 win over the Timberwolves and Knicks’ loss to the Bulls last night, Detroit is tied for 11th in the East. A win today over the Magic – don’t the Pistons beat them every time? – would move Detroit into 10th. Then, the Pistons could catch Milwaukee by…

OK, enough.

The Pistons are still an extreme long shot to make the playoffs. They’re seven games out with 30 games left. (Although, if you’re looking on the bright side, they’re also seven games back from the sixth seed).

And last night’s win was against Minnesota – one of the league’s worst teams.

But, man, the Pistons looked good last night. This is what they were supposed to be before injuries crippled their season: a team with more offensive weapons than opponents could handle and enough defense to get by.

  • Eight Pistons scored at least eight points, and all 12 players scored.
  • Detroit made more than 53 percent of its shots for just the fourth time this season.
  • The Pistons had a season-high 37 assists (37!), and led by Will Bynum’s 14 (14!), five players had at least three assists.

Detroit repeatedly spaced the floor well and made the extra pass. I’m not sure if this was one good game or evidence everyone is finally on the same page.

So, for a second, let’s assume the playoffs are out of reach. At this point, would you be happy with the Pistons playing like a low-seed playoff team the rest of the season? I think I’d consider that a success.

Don’t overlook Jerebko

Seriously, don’t.

From Howlin’ T-Wolf’s game preview:

Listen, Jerekbo is a great rookie on a bad team. I truly do like him and I think he could develop into a good forward in this league. But to think he even has a shot against Jefferson’s strength down in the post is preposterous.

Advantage: Minnesota

Result: Jerebko made his first six shots in the game’s first nine minutes and finished with 21 points. Al Jefferson (who was mostly matched up with Ben Wallace) scored 14 points.

Nets Are Scoring before New Jersey played Detroit on Feb. 6”

It is funny, I gave Yi the advantage before the last game because I didn’t really know Jonas or his game.  After watching the Pistons game, I still don’t really know his game.

Advantage:  Yi

Result: Jerebko made all nine of his shots, scored 20 points, grabbed seven rebounds and made two steals. Yi Jianlian shot 1-for-7.

So, to whoever will write the game preview for Orlando Magic Daily today, Jerebko is no good. Rashard Lewis will own him.

Tayshaun Prince trade watch

Tayshaun Prince’s rejuvenation continued last night with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and game-best plus-34 in 31 minutes. He might just have some trade value after all.

On the downside, the Jazz beats the Rockets last night. I guess I was holding a faint hope Utah would get blown out twice this week and consider trading Carlos Boozer.

Still, I’m getting a little sick of Prince and wouldn’t mind seeing him shipped. From Vince Goodwill of The Detroit News:

When asked if he wanted to stay with the team that drafted him, Prince replied tersely.

"How long have I been here?" he asked.

"Quite a while," the reporter replied.

"OK," he said, then walked out.

Random thought

If a team needs to intentionally miss a free throw at the end of a game, I think Charlie Villanueva might be the best in the NBA at it.

It’s not that he’s a bad free-throw shooter, but his missed jumpers put a hurt on the rim. That rebound would come flying off and give the shooting team a great chance to rebound the intentional miss.

More coverage

Check out Howlin’ T-Wolf’s recap.

Game Preview: Detroit Pistons vs. Minnesota Timberwolves


Date: Feb. 16, 2010

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit


Detroit: 18-33

Minnesota: 13-40

Probable starters





Las Vegas projection

Spread: Detroit -5

Over/under: 198

Score: Detroit wins, 102-91

Statistical projection

Detroit offensive rating: 103.5 (25th)

Detroit defensive rating: 109.1 (21st)

Detroit pace: 88.2 (29th)

Minnesota offensive rating: 101.5 (28th)

Minnesota defensive rating: 110.3 (25th)

Minnesota pace: 95.9 (3rd)

Score: Detroit wins, 98-97


  • Is anyone else really excited for real basketball? I definitely am — even this game.
  • The Timberwolves might one of the few teams in the league worse than Detroit.
  • Howlin’ T-Wolf has a good breakdown of tonight’s game.
  • I’ll be chatting in Daily Dime Live for a little bit tonight.

Could the Detroit Pistons facilitate an Amar’e-to-Miami deal?

First off, a few assumptions:

  • The Suns would like a young power forward and expiring contracts for Stouedmire (evidenced by their interest in trading him to Cleveland for Zydrunas Ilgauskas and J.J. Hickson).
  • Phoenix would rather get Michael Beasley than Hickson.
  • The Heat may be reluctant to include Dorell Wright, who has been playing well lately.
  • The Suns don’t want to take back Jermaine O’Neal’s contract because they’d have to trade someone else back to Miami.

Enter the Pistons.

Here’s what I came up with:


The Pistons would also receive a draft pick.

Originally, I was thinking Detroit could receive the Marcus Banks trade exception instead of Cook. But I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work under the cap rules. Maybe you know better than me, but can an exception be traded for a single player in a three-team trade where that player goes to the third team?

Phoenix and Miami perspectives

Michael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns and Mathew Bunch of Hot Hot Hoops sent me some feedback on the deal.

Schwartz likes Beasley a lot more than Hickson, but he didn’t seem convinced the Suns feel the same way.  He said O’Neal would work in the trade if the Heat take Jason Richardson, but I don’t think they would. He also said Beasley would have to be included in any deal with Miami.

But Bunch doesn’t think Beasley will be traded, citing the Heat owners Mickey Arison. So, something would have to give if the Heat really are serious about getting Stoudemire. Bunch also said, if push comes to shove, Miami wouldn’t hesitate to include Wright – which would mean the Pistons wouldn’t be necessary in the trade.

Extreme version

I also came up with a crazy version of how the Pistons could help the deal work, an all-in type of trade for Miami:


Maybe this is why Joe Dumars won’t hire Bill Laimbeer

Joe Dumars is a noted Democrat. There was even talk he might run for governor of Michigan.

From Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press’s interview with Bill Laimbeer (Check out the link for some classic Laimbeer dry wit.):

Favorite TV show? I watch the news. On Fox.

Tuesday Trivia: Unlikely All-Stars

This week’s quiz is about All-Stars who weren’t drafted in the fist round.

My Score: 10/13

Warning: Spoilers in the comments.

Everything you need to know about All-Star weekend

If you snoozed through All-Star weekend like I did, here’s your recap of everything interesting and relevant to the Pistons:

Jason Maxiell is awesome.

Fox Sports Detroit drops two Pistons games

Fox Sports Detroit won’t televise the Pistons’ games at Golden State on Feb. 27 and March 13 at Atlanta, according to Dave Pemberton of The Oakland Press. FSD will broadcast two games ESPN dropped — Dec. 9 vs. Philadelphia and March 21 at Cleveland.

This has been such a miserable year for the Pistons. When’s the last time a regular-season Pistons game wasn’t televised? I vaguely recall a playoff game not be televised in the last few years. Does that ring a bell to anyone else?

Friday Trade Idea: Dealing Richard Hamilton and Kwame Brown to the Dallas Mavericks for Josh Howard and Matt Carroll

Every Friday (well, that’s the goal), I’ll analyze a potential Pistons trade. It might be a rumor, a deal I completely made up blindly or one you suggest (e-mail me at danfeld11@gmail.com or leave a proposal in the comments).


Pistons receive:

  • Josh Howard (12.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.7 blocks, 0.3 steals)
  • Matt Carroll (1.6 points, 0.3 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.0 blocks, 0.3 steals)

Mavericks receive:

  • Richard Hamilton (17.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 0.1 blocks, 0.7 steals)
  • Kwame Brown (3.5 points, 3.5 rebounds,  0.6 assists, 0.2 blocks, 0.3 steals)


Pistons receive:

Player 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13
Josh Howard $10,890,000 $11,835,000 $0 $0
Matt Carroll $4,700,000 $4,300,000 $3,900,000 $3,500,000
Total $15,590,000 $16,135,000 $3,900,000 $3,500,000

Mavericks receive:

Player 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13
Richard Hamilton $11,625,000 $12,650,000 $12,650,000 $12,650,000
Kwame Brown $4,100,000 $0 $0 $0
Total $15,725,000 $12,650,000 $12,650,000 $12,650,000

Player option

Team option

Pistons’ perspective

Joe Dumars doesn’t want just expiring contracts for Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. I think this deal offers more than that.

Before this season, Howard was an excellent player. He’s still good, but his production has fallen way off. If Dallas had to decide two years ago, Howard’s team option probably would have been picked up. But you can’t count on him for 20 points, seven rebounds and two assists and excellent defense every game anymore.

Hamilton’s play has picked up since returning from injury. He’s a better player than Howard right now. But Howard would give Detroit a few advantages to Hamilton.

Howard is 29, a couple years younger than Hamilton. Maybe a change in environment would do them both good.

Howard is also a better fit at small forward than Hamilton, which would free more minutes for Ben Gordon at shooting guard. Plus, Dumars seems keen on players who can play multiple positions.

Most importantly, Howard’s contract is not guaranteed past this season. This trade would shed $8,350,000 from the Pistons’ payroll this summer (assuming they decline the team option). But depending on where the cap is set, that might not give them much more to spend than the mid-level exception.

On one hand, that could give them a chance to pay a free agent more money than any team that’s over the cap. It’s would be a small advantage, but every dollar counts.

A better plan would likely be re-signing Howard for about $7 million per season (assuming he passes what would become a half-season audition) and using the mid-level exception on another player.

The Pistons would probably have room under the luxury tax threshold to do that and re-sign Will Bynum and Ben Wallace. Basically, the Pistons would be trading for Howard and another quality player (the free agent signed with the mid-level exception) or for a good, but not elite, free agent this summer (if they let Howard walk).

The trade also works without Kwame Brown and Matt Carroll, which would be a plus for the Pistons. But I think Dallas would insist both are included, so the financial hit of adding Hamilton isn’t as great.

Carroll wouldn’t be a total burden, though. His salary decreases ever year, and he could fill a role as a 3-point specialist.

Chad Ford (insider) recently analyzed five hypothetical trades. One of them was a three-way deal that included this trade (along with sending Prince to Utah for Boozer). Relevant portions:

But in any case, moving Hamilton for Howard, who has a nonguaranteed contract for 2010-11, would work well for the Pistons, for whom Hamilton’s contract has become an albatross. This trade would give them the opportunity to pursue a free agent this summer. And while they would be reluctant to swallow the three years remaining on Carroll’s contract, that’s also the length of Hamilton’s contract, which they would be shedding.

The Mavs would trade Howard, but they’d prefer to get someone younger than Hamilton in return. They’ve looked at Kevin Martin, Caron Butler and Andre Iguodala, but so far the Kings, Wizards and 76ers don’t want to give up those players for mere cap relief. But Dallas doesn’t have its first-round pick this year and owner Mark Cuban has said he’s not trading rookie point guard Rodrigue Beaubois — and the Mavs don’t have much else to offer in terms of inexpensive assets. So Hamilton might be the best they can do.

His contract is ugly — he has $34 million in guaranteed money owed to him over the next three seasons after this one. At the same time, the Mavs would be ridding themselves of the remaining $12 million due Carroll over the next three seasons. Looking at it that way, Dallas would be getting Hamilton for about $7.5 million per year for the next three seasons. While that’s not a bargain, he would help them offensively, stepping in as the starting 2-guard and providing another veteran shooter in the backcourt.

Mavericks’ perspective

For each trade, I will seek the analysis of the other team’s TrueHoop Network blogger.

Rob Mahoney of The Two Man Game:

“Josh Howard’s inconsistent and uninspiring play has put the Mavs in a tough spot. If Howard plays up to the level that the Mavs know he’s capable of, he’d be a stellar complement to a Mavs core that could certainly use his scoring and perimeter defense. But at this point, Howard’s lows are so much of a downer that they negate any potential highs; any coach, any team, and an fan base can only take so many two of ten shooting nights before patience begins to wear thin.

The most infuriating thing about Howard’s decline is that it’s practically nonsensical. Josh played exceptionally well in last year’s first round series against the Spurs before being shut down for the second round match-up with the Nuggets. Since then, Josh has battled and recovered from a few different injuries, throwing the Mavs’ rotation for a bit of a loop in the process. But when Howard hits the court, his past injuries are hardly apparent; he has no noticeable limp, he doesn’t favor one side over another, and his movements, leaping, and shooting stroke all appear to be relatively normal. But his effort level? A bit lacking at times. His shot-selection? Getting better, but occasionally worrisome. His once heralded perimeter defense? Strong some nights, and gone the next. Dirk Nowitzki needs some consistent help, and the Mavs as a whole need a more active defender at the 2.

Enter Rip Hamilton. On the surface, he’s not an ideal fit; he’s older than the Mavs’ other rumored trade targets, his contract runs long and hits hard, and as a kicker, he’s having a bit of an off-year. But a change of scenery can do wonders for a player, and I don’t think it’s terribly unreasonable to expect a slight pickup in Rip’s production if he was traded to a playoff-caliber team (and with his addition, hopefully more than just playoff-caliber).

The hardest sell on a Josh-Rip swap would be Mark Cuban. Hamilton is owed $37.5 million over the next three years, and while it could possibly make the Mavs better now, Rip will be a ghost of his former self by the time his deal runs out. Plus, with the new CBA due in 2011, it’s entirely possible that a player of Hamilton’s stature would (in the future) go on the free agent market for significantly less than $12.5 million per.
The Mavs’ other potential deals would need to fall through. Maybe Sacramento is clearly resolved to keep Kevin Martin, Phoenix pries away Andre Iguodala for Amar’e Stoudemire, and Houston (or per the latest rumor: Boston) nabs Caron Butler. The Mavs still would be looking to make a change to improve their roster, and while a Josh for Rip trade straight-up may not grab Mark Cuban’s attention, the inclusion of Kwame Brown (or more importantly, his expiring contract — the man is destined to be trade fodder) and Matt Carroll (or more importantly, his contract — the man is destined to be a bench-warmer in Dallas, but he’s due $11.7 million over the next three years). It wouldn’t exactly slide the Mavs under the cap or even under the luxury tax line, but scrapping Carroll’s deal could help persuade Cuban to take on a bigger financial commitment – like Richard Hamilton.”

My response

I think Hamilton’s production would go up more as a product of getting back in shape after an injury. But going to a contender certainly wouldn’t hurt, either.

Otherwise, I think Rob’s analysis is spot-on.


The Pistons would say yes. The Mavericks would say yes if they haven’t found a better offer by the trade deadline.