David Stern announced at his pre-Finals press conference the NBA Board of Governors has approved an ownership group led by Tom Gores to (at long last) purchase the Pistons. Stern said he expects the sale to close sometime next week. This, of course, came one question before he spent much of the 15-minute press conference talking about the ongoing labor negotiations that have the NBA preparing for what could be an extended lockout.
More on that in a second.
But the long-anticipated sale of the Pistons from the Davidson family to the group led by Gores finally seems complete after nearly half a season of waiting. The Pistons have been paralyzed waiting for this sale’s approval. Joe Dumars has been unable to make even the simplest moves — like firing embattled head coach John Kuester or disciplining, waiving or trading some of the players who openly protested Kuester and skipped a practice in the middle of the season — in trying to keep the payroll down waiting for the sale to a new owner.
Dumars is expected to stay, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, and Kuester is expected (finally) to be let go.
Gores is a Michigan native and owner of a Los Angeles private equity investment firm. That is where he made his billions. This is surely going to be fulfilling some dream of owning his hometown team.
It is just it once again raises the question about the lockout. If the league is in such bad shape financially how is it that owners still want to buy in. Why would they want to buy into a losing proposition?
There are several answers to this question. Team ownership is not always necessarily about making money — although it is nice — and there is a certain prestige that comes with owning an NBA team.
But I am sure the players will argue the other side.
The bulk of Stern and Adam Silver’s press conference was spent updating the press on the ongoing labor negotiations with 30 days left in the current collective bargaining agreement. Stern said the owners want to continue the surge this postseason is creating and to avoid a lockout of any kind at any cost. Well, not any cost. But they recognize any type of lockout will hurt the league and cause each side to entrench themselves even more in their positions.
Stern said the owners and players have some heavy negotiating sessions planned for tomorrow in Miami and two sessions planned for next week in Dallas. At least the owners are putting up a front of trying to prevent a lockout and get a new collective bargaining negotiated.
Stern did not get into too many specifics of what proposals were on the table or comment much on the players association’s complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. Negotiations are still very much about posturing.
But with the June 30 deadline approaching, progress is going to happen now. If not, it could be a while. So enjoy that new team you just bought Tom Gores.
Photo via DayLife.com.