Tom Gores Focus Is On Business Not Basketball


Oct 30, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores during the game against the Washington Wizards at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

So is Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores truly in daily contact with the team? Or is he more concerned with the bottom line of Palace Sports and Entertainment?

Reports surfacing after the Maurice Cheeks firing indicate that Gores was behind the move despite objections from General Manager Joe Dumars.  If that is the case, how much of the decision was based on basketball?

In the most revealing look into the Detroit Pistons operation yet, Dennis Mannion CEO of Palace Sports and Entertainment, made the claim during a recent media tour of the Palace that Tom Gores is engaged with the team daily.

"Every time I read something that says he’s absent I think ‘What are you, crazy?,” Mannion said “He’s phenomenal; he has 35 companies. “I think he touches all of them – this one in particular with regularity.”"

The author of the article Eric Lacy of MLive went on the clarify the Mannion was also speaking about Palace Sports and Entertainment properties like Meadowbrook Music Festival and DTE Energy Music Theatre.

"From MLive: Mannion said Gores, a 49-year-old billionaire who lives in Beverly Hills, Calif., is so engaged that he’s texting him on a daily basis about topics ranging from concert accommodations to concession stand menu items."

Daily contact about hot dogs and beer prices isn’t the type of involvement Pistons fans are hoping for.  Especially when making decisions about the head coach of the basketball team.

As Mannion stated to the media, “Tom Gores has 35 companies”. It can be assumed he runs all of them well.  However in sports, decisions that benefit the team do not always benefit the bottom line. I am sure Gores has some great people working on the business end but his basketball people are not doing the job.

In fact throughout the entire MLive article, Mannion talks about the Pistons in terms of attendance, marketing and customer tracking, not wins and loses.

"From MLive: While we haven’t been playing great basketball, we have had an opportunity to put ourselves in a position to be able to market and keep those people down the road,” Mannion said. “And that’s a good thing. “We have a database and can go back and say ‘We know you were at the Brooklyn Nets game; we know you enjoyed X, Y and X, and we’d love to have you back again.”"

Too bad they don’t have a database tracking Josh Smith’s shooting percentage.

If the Pistons make the playoffs this season it will be in spite of the owner of Palace Sports and Entertainment not because of him. The Pistons will never return to relevancy until they get the Basketball part right.  Until then the Pistons will struggle and so will the Palace.