The next big franchise sale in the four major North American Sports leagues will be the Detroit Pistons. Karen Davidson inherited the team when her husband died, and now faces a big estate tax bill. There have been some rumors the sale of the team needs to happen by January for Karen to make good on that bill. Now we learn that Magic Johnson would like to sell off his 5% ownership of the Los Angels Lakers and buy a larger share of his hometown Detroit Pistons. If Magic wants to buy in he would likely have to join one of three groups who are said to be interested in owning the Pistons.
With that being said let us take a look at the three groups ranked by how I think they would do as owners of my home town team:
1.Tom Gores– Tom was born in Israel but grew up in Michigan and attended MSU. He is a billionaire, and reportedly a huge basketball fan. He runs Platinum Equity a company that has 27.5 billion dollars in annual revenue. Tom has the money and the passion to be a great basketball owner. He is also young and could be in place for a long time.
2.George Postolos– George use to run the Houston Rockets, and did a very good job on the business side with that team. He led a group that finished second to Michael Jordan for ownership of the Charlotte Bobcats. He also served as special assistant to NBA commissioner David Stern. He is passionate about basketball, and does a very good job helping his teams make money.
3.Mike Illitch– Illitch already owns the Detroit Red Wings (NHL), and Tigers (MLB). He likely wants to add the Pistons as a tenant to a new downtown Detroit arena for his Wings, and would like to gain control of two outdoor concert venues owned by the Pistons operating company. The problem here is two fold. One, his reasons for ownership has nothing to do with a passion for basketball. Two, we have seen guys own multiple teams in other cities and it never seems like a good idea. Plus he has done a pretty piss poor job running the Tigers, after earning a Hall of Fame induction for his ownership of the Wings.