WXYZ (Channel 7 in Detroit) is reporting that the Ilitch family still is interested in buying the Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment. The source of their report is Tom Wilson, who is the former president and CEO of Palace Sports & Entertainment and now works for Ilitch.
For the last two months, all signs have pointed to businessman Tom Gores becoming the owner of the Pistons. He had a month of exclusivity in the negotiations and then another two weeks after that. The most recent exclusivity period recently expired without a deal being in place, however.
Negotiations with Gores have reportedly been stuck on the price of the Pistons. The NBA apparently wants to get more than $400 million for the team, but they are not believed to be worth that much. It's unlikely that Gores, a savvy businessman, is going to overpay to complete the purchase, which is why this sale once again appears to be at a standstill.
Mike Ilitch was the original frontrunner to purchase the Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment and even said back in November that a deal was getting close. Things fell apart just days later, though. Ilitch reportedly found out that revenues were inflated and lowered his bid from more than $400 million to a lower figure. Negotiations fell apart in the wake of this and Gores stepped to the lead of the pack.
It's no surprise that Ilitch still has interest in making a deal happen. The real question is if he and Karen Davidson could work out a deal. If Gores is struggling to close the deal because the NBA wants more than $400 million, I don't see how Ilitch would change his mind and go back to his original offer. Then again, there have been so many twists and turns in this story that I suppose nothing should be unexpected at this point.