The Detroit Free Press is not the only source going with the lede that a deal has been reached to sell the Pistons to Tom Gores. Sources of Crain's Detroit Business are also suggesting a deal is done:
"Negotiations are over. There is a deal. It’s for The Palace, the entertainment business, for the team. It’s subject to the approval of the NBA," said the source, who agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity. [...]How much owner Karen Davidson agreed to sell the basketball team for is unknown, but she and other family members will retain a minority stake.
"A percentage will remain with the family," said the source. "It’s a done deal, waiting for approval."
The Free Press had a dollar amount, so it might be safe to assume that the two have different sources scooping them.
Of course, that doesn't necessarily make it reliable. The Detroit News is still adamant that a deal has not been reached.
Reports Thursday night that a tentative agreement was reached for Gores to purchase the team and Palace Sports & Entertainment were denied. A second report today published on crainsdetroit.com quoted a source saying that a deal is in place and that the NBA had been informed.
Enough progress has been made that an original exclusive period of 30 days for Gores to negotiate an agreement will now extend through late February, according to sources familiar with the talks. They cautioned that while the sides are moving closer, there's no agreement on a price and the bargaining has been hard.
That said, sources on both sides said their confidence a deal is attainable increased in the past two weeks.
FOX Detroit's Jennifer Hammond entered the fold with this tweet:
Amid reports that Pistons sale is all but signed, an NBA source told me "nothing official has been submitted to the league office yet."
Hmm, what to believe? The Detroit News has often been the first to update news on the sale throughout this whole frustrating process, so it might incline some to take their word. However, as Ian Casselberry pointed out to me, it's interesting that the business sources are the ones reporting a tentative deal has been reached. Of course, they were also the first to report that Mike Ilitch was getting close to buying the team and that obviously didn't happen. The Detroit News used that prior, perceived falsity (it was actually more than likely true, and then Ilitch discovered that Davidson's crew was fudging numbers) to tinker with a Ben Wallace quote:
"You guys (certain media outlets, but not The Detroit News) say it's a done deal, I've heard that before," Wallace said at Friday morning's shootaround. "Mrs. D, she's been honest with us, she loves us, she's watched us grow up. She's been honest about it, that she's not as passionate about this as her husband was. We can respect that."
That's definitely an intentional, and fair, edit by The Detroit News. But just because they didn't report before that a deal was close with Ilitch (and by all other accounts it was), it doesn't mean they didn't get out-scooped here.
In the meantime, the Freep continues to be confident in their initial report, not appearing to backpedal, but have posted that Gores is back in California for a family matter and no "official" announcement will be made today. It'll be interesting to hear what the Pistons' broadcast says about a potential sale tonight when the Pistons take on the Heat.