Pistons Playing Downtown Sounding Like ‘When’, Not ‘If’


The Detroit Pistons‘ hiring of agent Arn Tellem last week was an obvious power play. What was less obvious, however, is what exactly Tellem would do as the new vice chairman of Palace Sports and Entertainment.

More from Detroit Pistons

New comments from owner Tom Gores shed some light on Tellem’s responsibilities, which will include forging relationships with other business leaders in the area. That list certainly includes the Ilitches and Olympia Entertainment. From the Detroit Free Press:

"“We have great respect for the Ilitches, and one of the first conversations we’ll have — and have Arn coordinate — will be with the Ilitches on what they’re thinking. … Whatever form that takes, we just think partnering with the Ilitches to help Detroit is just a positive thing.”Asked about playing games downtown, Gores replied, “Not discussed (yet), but we’re certainly not against it. I think we have to be open to anything. Our big picture is how do we help Detroit and the state of Michigan.”"

RELATED: NBA Mock Draft 2015: Pistons Faced With Tough Scenario

The possibility of the Pistons moving downtown appeared to have faded when the Ilitches couldn’t come to an agreement to buy the team, which was ultimately sold to Tom Gores. Since purchasing the team, Gores has made significant upgrades to the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Playing some games downtown sets up some interesting possibilities. Instead of making a full move right away, the Pistons could start with 5-10 games – a nice number to package together for a mini-season ticket plan.

Assuming the Pistons do play a limited set of games at the new Red Wings arena, that would represent a pair of business rivals coming together. Because they do also have mutual interests in a thriving region, perhaps in lieu of whatever rent the Pistons would pay to play in the arena for those games, the money would instead go to benefit the surrounding community to spur further investment and development.

There is a lot of ground to cover before anything starts to firm up. For one, the new arena downtown is still a couple years away. Tellem is just getting started in his new role and things are in the “talking about talks” stage. But these developments make it appear that it is a matter of “when” not “if” when it comes to the Pistons eventually playing within the Detroit city limits.

Next: Can Brad Ausmus Put the “Man” in Manager?

More from Detroit Jock City