Detroit Pistons should be sold to the right person

Adelle Whitefoot

Since the Detroit Pistons have been put up for sale this past summer, a couple of people have shown interest in buying the team.  By no surprise, Mike Ilitch was one of them, and I believe that if Karen Davidson, the current owner, cared at all about the franchise, she would sell the team to Ilitch.

Ilitch is the current owner of the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers and some may argue that by owning the Pistons, he would create a monopoly.  But if people were to look at what he did for both franchises, then they would agree that Ilitch is the right man for the job.

When Ilitch bought the Red Wings in 1982 they were known as the ‘Dead Wings.’ They had the worst season record and missed the playoffs 14 times in the past 16 seasons. One of the first things Ilitch did was draft Steve Yzerman in 1983 as his first pick, fourth pick overall.

Yzerman was one of the best players that the Wings have ever acquired.  He played for the Wings for all 23 years of his NHL career and is arguably one of the best players to play in the NHL.

After one year of Ilitch owning the Wings, they were already back in the playoffs.  They made five playoff appearances in the next seven years and are currently on a 19-year playoff appearance streak.  It did take 15 years before the Wings won a Stanley Cup, but since then they’ve made it to the Stanley Cup finals six times, winning it four times. Ilitch brought fans and life back to the Wings, and I think that Ilitch is the only one who can do the same for the Pistons.

Ilitch already has great ideas about owning the Pistons, including bringing them back to Detroit.  Currently, the Pistons reside in Auburn Hills at the Palace and the Wings are at the Joe Louis Arena (JLA) in Detroit.  The JLA, which is owned by the city of Detroit, has been said to be out of date and that it would cost more to update it than to build a new facility.

Ilitch’s idea, if he were to own the Pistons, is to move the Wings to the Palace for a year while he builds a new facility in downtown Detroit to host both the Pistons and the Wings.

I’ve heard people argue that removing the Wings from Detroit would hurt the city’s economy.  They may be right, and yes, it is heart breaking to think of the Wings leaving Detroit for a year but in the long run it would better for the city.

The stadium would be up to date, the Pistons would be back in Detroit, and it could boost Detroit’s economy.  It’s a win, win, win.

Tom Gores, a Flint native and California businessman, just had his 30-day negotiation period extended.  He is offering a significantly higher price than Ilitch, but I don’t think that he’s the right person to own the Pistons.

Gores doesn’t have the experience of owning a sports franchise that Ilitch does, and he’s known for buying companies, taking them apart and selling them off.

I know that Ilitch’s offer for the team is significantly lower than that of the other bidders, but I think Karen Davidson should look at who’s right for the team and not about the money.