Detroit Pistons Back On the Market: Heading to Seattle?

Kevin NesgodaCorrespondent INovember 15, 2010

It appears Mike Illitch has lowered his $400M bid to purchase the Detroit Pistons from current owner Karen Davidson.

Davidson has now reopened the bidding and there are rumors that one of the other bidders may be willing to outbid Illitch.

One would be Tom Gores, a billionaire currently living in Beverly Hills, but with ties to the area growing up in Flint. Gores definitely has the capital to make a strong run at the team, but would he also get a new downtown arena done like Illitch had wanted? He could work with Illitch and have the final result of having the Pistons and Red Wings owning the new downtown arena.

Another possibility is Steve Ballmer, who is from Detroit and a man who just cashed out $1.3B in stock options and going to do another $700M before the end of the year. The easy math says that $2B cash on hand and most people do not keep that type of money around unless they are going to be looking for a big purchase.

Ballmer has been linked to buying the Kings or the Hornets and moving them into a new privately financed arena in the Seattle metropolitan area. Would Steve Ballmer purchase his hometown team and move them to the Northwest?

I would say it could be more than coincidence that Davidson opened up the bidding, just days after Ballmer pulled out more than enough money to make Davidson an offer she couldn’t refuse.

Currently speculation could suggest this, but Illitch would still seem to be the front runner and Davidson is just using this as a negotiation ploy to get a little bit more for the team. She knows she’s not going to get face value for this team in the middle of a labor dispute and in an economically ravaged area.

I would not discount Steve Ballmer in all of this though. If the Kings aren’t for sale and Detroit openly is, things could very well get interesting.

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