The Pistons seem closer to a move back to downtown Detroit, according to Louis Aguilar and Rod Beard of The Detroit News. They report agreement on some “initial issues” to move the team and the NHL’s Red Wings into the new Little Caesars Arena, which is scheduled to be finished in September of next year.
The story cautions that there are still many details to work out, including revenue splits, and that no deal is in place. But it’s possible that an agreement could be announced in the next few weeks or months if negotiations continue to go well.
If the move happens, it would include a separate downtown practice facility for the team, probably on land that belongs to the Ilitch family, which owns the Red Wings. Also to be determined is whether the Pistons would move into the new arena next season or wait until 2018/19. Team owner Tom Gores plans to be in Detroit Thursday and Friday, so more talks may take place then.
Gores tried to buy the Pistons’ current home at the Palace of Auburn Hills, but a $370MM offer he made in June was turned down by Oakland County officials. There were discussions on a long-term lease, but no agreement was worked out.
The Palace has been the Pistons’ home since 1988. Prior to that, they spent a decade at the Pontiac Silverdome. Their last arenas in downtown Detroit were Cobo Hall and Olympia Stadium.
Gores admitted at the team’s media day that he has been discussing a move downtown.
“We’re always assessing it but it’s got to be good for everybody — us included — and for our fans,” he said.