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Foriegn investors showing interest in buying the Detroit Pistons

The National, a news site in the United Arab Emirates, is reporting that investment groups in both Dubai and Qatar are in discussions to purchase the Detroit Pistons. The bids are serious enough that NBA Commissioner David Stern is commenting on them:

Negotiations are “ongoing” for a potential Middle East buyout of the franchise, said David Stern, the commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

“The interest and discussions have taken place in reference to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar. There is more than one discussion,” Mr Stern said.

“That is a team that has been, and is having negotiations with different potential investors,” he added, declining to name the parties involved.

Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian billionaire, recently bought the New Jersey Nets franchise, marking the first foreign ownership of an NBA team. This purchase “ignited and catalysed” foreign interest in ownership of the teams, said Mr Stern.

“We are either in direct or indirect discussions with at least three buyers in the Middle East over their interest in acquiring NBA franchises,” he said. “We are mindful that of the 20 teams in [English Premier League football], 10 are owned by investors outside the UK.”

The NBA, which has been very foriegn-minded under Stern’s leadership, is currently looking at ways to expand and grow its fanbase in the Middle East. And owning the Pistons would make sense from an Arab-based business standpoint: Dearborn, after all, has one of the largest Arab populations outside the Middle East.

So, to recap, here are the others reportedly interested in buying the Pistons:

  • Mike Ilitch, who was considered the favorite and had an exlusive negotiating window to finalize purchasing the team that fell through.
  • Tom Gores, who told Vincent Goodwill in mid-November that he’s still interested.
  • George Postolos, who things have been quiet from since his name was thrown into the running.

Meanwhile, Magic Johnson, who was at one time rumored to be interested in joining a Pistons ownership group after selling his share in the Lakers, appears to be fully committed to bringing a NFL team to Los Angeles after telling Jimmy Kimmel that he’s fully committed to bringing a NFL team to Los Angeles.

I think most were hoping for a quick resolution to the in-flux ownership situation, but as more candidates emerge, it appears more likely to drag on longer.


  • Dec 2, 201010:43 am
    by bruce juice


    Coukld Brian Williams aka Bison Dele still be alive? I know police think his brother killed him but nop proff has ever surfaced.

  • Dec 2, 201010:52 am
    by Odeh


    I like this Middle East Ownership rumor.  Multi-billionares who like to show off?  Ill take that over Ilitch in a heartbeat.

  • Dec 2, 201011:20 am
    by Laser


    i did figure out the ilitch thing; remember the maic johnson chatter about selling his starbucks and lakers shares? how he wanted to unload them before the MASSIVE capital gains tax increase hits in January? well i’m guessing ilitch is acutely aware of the tax hike and was leveraging his bid against that and lowballing. i mean, if karen davidson sells before january, she stands to walk away with 50% more money than if she sells it after. foreign investors doesn’t please me in the slightest.

  • Dec 2, 201011:28 am
    by Patrick Hayes



    Prokhorov seems fun. As long as the new owners like to spend money and put people in place who will build a competitive team, and they don’t try and move the team to another city, I’m cool with anyone buying the team really.

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  • Dec 2, 201012:17 pm
    by Laser


    but that’s the thing. i don’t trust anyone to keep the team here. not with detroit’s current state. if i was given 100% assurance that the team wasn’t going anywhere, i could give six sh*ts who owned it, as long as they were committed to winning.
    my guess is that ilitch is slime. i think every single one of his motives is probably wrong, and like i hinted at above, i think he’s playing games and trying to take advantage of the tax situation. now, i could care less that he’s messing with karen davidson, who i suspect is a horrible woman, but he’s messing with my favorite team. and it makes me nervous. that said, once he owns the thing, he fits the two criteria i’m looking for in a new owner: he wants to WIN, and he’s not moving the team. it’s not a xenophobic thing; if david stern or the new owners themselves were able to give me confidence that some abu dhabi investor fit those criteria, i’d be all for it. anything to get this team on the right track.

  • Dec 2, 201012:42 pm
    by Patrick Hayes


    I understand what you’re saying. But as I alluded to in the post, a foreign investor doesn’t immediately signify he/she/they would want to move the team.

    First, there’s the large Arab population in Michigan that I mentioned. I would think that would make keeping the Pistons where they are appealing to potentially the first Arab ownership group in the NBA.

    Second, Michigan is actually a great location for someone with worldwide business interests because of the border with Canada.

    Third, the Palace is still one of the best facilities in sports. This isn’t a Sonics situation where the team is stuck in an outdated arena with no luxury boxes. It’s a much harder case to make to move the Pistons.

    You’re right, Ilitch is the best bet for simply keeping the team in Michigan, but I think any owner would have a tough time making a compelling case to the league that the Piston should move.

  • Dec 2, 201012:51 pm
    by Andrea


    Basketball, whether Americans realize it or not, is a global game so it’s not surprising to see foreign investors being interested to ownn a team. I also guarantee you that, as a basketball fan living in Europe, the vast majority of basketball fans living outside the U.S. are REALLY, REALLY, REALLY passionate about the NBA so I have no doubts in my mind a foreign group would be fully committed to the team.
    And I also want you guys to think about something. Would Ilitch really be a good owner? He’s a baseball and hockey guy, so would he really care enough about the basketball team? Are we really sure he’s interested to the Pistons just because he loves the city of Detroit? Or is it because this could help him to get a new arena for his Red Wings? Let’s not forget this is the same guy who claimed not to be a basketball fan.
    So, what would you prefer? A foreign group who really loves the game and is committed to the team, or an american owner who’s using the Pistons to help the Wings getting a shiny brand-new arena? which is something the Pistons don’t need since the Palace is still a great arena.

  • Dec 2, 201012:55 pm
    by Patrick Hayes



    I think everyone who has lived in Michigan or followed Ilitch knows that he is not in this because he loves the Pistons or the NBA. He wants to dupe taxpayers into footing at least some of the bill for another new arena. I don’t think anyone is under any pretense that his interest in the team doesn’t primarily stem from that intention.

    I would 100 percent prefer an ownership group like you describe — one that is passionate about the team and the NBA, uses resources to make the team a title contender again and keeps the team in Michigan — to Ilitch.

  • Dec 2, 20105:54 pm
    by Rodman4Life


    It’s obvious.  The only way to make sure it all works out is to sell the team to me.  First order of business, a closed cage royal rumble between the guards.  Last three standing get the minutes, others go to the bench or the D-league.  Next, I’d can that stupid a** horse mascot.  Then I’d paint the other team’s locker room pink and play the smurf theme song over their loudspeakers.  Sound like a good start??

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