Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pistons Take Knight, Singler and Macklin

Steve St-Pierre
Sports Writer
In Play! Magazine

They went into the 2011 NBA Draft prepared to select a big man, believing that the top point guards would be off the board by the time they picked at No. 8. Fortunately, all but one slid down to the Pistons, who wound up selecting Kentucky's Brandon Knight.

Detroit also owned two selections in the second round, opting for Duke's Kyle Singler at No. 33 and Florida's Vernon Macklin at No. 52. Singler's a talented all-around combo-forward, while Macklin's a tough-minded power forward known for his blue-collar work ethic.

Knight should be penciled in immediately as the Pistons' starting point guard as Rodney Stuckey is set to become a restricted free agent July 1. Stuckey could be brought back to play alongside Knight in the backcourt, which also features veterans Ben Gordon, Will Bynum and Rip Hamilton, though Hamilton could be moved before next season.

Joe Dumars, Pistons President, addressed the media shortly after the selection of Knight, admitting that he had planned to take a big man but could not pass on the promising point guard. Knight had been expected to go between picks 3 and 5.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Gores, Dumars Prepare For NBA Draft

Gores, Dumars Prepare For NBA Draft
By Steve St-Pierre

Officially the new owner of the Pistons, Tom Gores has wasted little time making his mark on the franchise. He’s decided to keep Joe Dumars as President and GM, who has since announced the firing of John Kuester as Head Coach. Gores and Dumars now have less than a month to negotiate trades, interview coaching candidates and gear up for the 2011 NBA Draft before the league enters into a lockout in July.

Dumars has recently admitted that he was unable to make all the moves he’s wanted to make due to the sale of the franchise. Now that his restrictions have been lifted under Gores, Dumars is hopeful he can make significant progress on his plan to rebuild the Pistons’ roster.

Currently, the Pistons have nine players under contract: Rip Hamilton, Ben Wallace, Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, Greg Monroe, Austin Daye, Will Bynum, Jason Maxiell and Terrico White. According to reports, the team has been trying to trade Hamilton for the past couple of years, and they’ll need to in order to give Gordon the amount of playing time and shot attempts he requires to flourish at the shooting guard spot. Likewise, Monroe is ready to be the team’s full-time starter at center, making the aging Wallace expendable as well.

With Detroit prepared to rebuild around Gordon and Monroe, the team’s goal now is to put pieces around them. Bynum and White are the only point guards under contract at this time. With few options available to them in the draft at that position, the Pistons will likely look to free agency or trades to acquire a starting-caliber point guard to play alongside Gordon in the backcourt. Up front, the team has all intentions of re-signing restricted free agent Jonas Jerebko.

With that in mind, the Pistons are expected to take a power forward with their first-round pick in this year’s draft to split time with Villanueva and Maxiell. That would leave Jerebko and Daye to battle it out for the starting spot at small forward. Detroit owns the No. 8 overall pick in the draft, and they expect to have a number of potential prospects to choose from at that spot. Those candidates include international forwards Jonas Valanciunas, Jan Vesely and Bismack Biyombo to go along with Texas big man Tristan Thompson.

With two additional picks in the second round, the Pistons could be looking to target a natural center to play behind Monroe. One name that certainly intrigues them is a local standout from Oakland University, Keith Benson. It’s also possible Detroit could shop both picks in order to acquire another first-rounder or to bring in another veteran player, perhaps in a deal that would also include Hamilton.

Besides improving the roster, Gores and Dumars will have to decide whether or not to pursue a new head coach before the expected lockout. Local reports are currently indicating Mike Woodson and Bill Laimbeer as the early front-runners. Woodson, who was the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks for six seasons, served as an assistant on the Pistons under Larry Brown during the team’s 2004 championship season. Laimbeer, of course, is a fan-favorite due to his past success as a Pistons player and as head coach of Detroit’s former WNBA franchise, the Shock.

It’s quite possible the Pistons’ front office will elect to focus solely on improving its roster for the month of June and simply wait until after the draft to hire a head coach. Either way, the team will need to be aggressive these next couple weeks in terms of shopping players and scouting the upcoming rookie class. The 2011 NBA Draft should hopefully be the beginning steps toward revitalizing the ball club.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


In Play Magazine


        AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced today that John Kuester will not return next season as the team’s head coach.  The decision was made following a meeting between ownership and the head coach.

“Decisions like this are difficult to make,” said Dumars. “I want to thank John for his hard work and dedication to the organization over the last two years, however, at this time we have decided to make a change.”

Dumars goes on to say, “As our organization moves forward and prepares for the future, the search for our club’s new head coach is a priority and will begin immediately.  However, at this time, we do not have a timetable for hiring a successor.  We’ll conduct our due diligence privately and announce a decision when we’ve identified that individual.”
Kuester, who was named head coach on July 9, 2009, tallied a regular-season record of 57-107 in two season’s with the Pistons.  He served one season in Detroit as an assistant coach under Larry Brown in 2003-04, helping the Pistons win the NBA Championship that year.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – The sale of Palace Sports and Entertainment (PS&E) and the Detroit Pistons to Tom Gores and his investment firm, Platinum Equity, was formally completed today, following unanimous approval by the NBA’s Board of Governors. With the transfer of ownership Mr. Gores becomes the fourth owner in Detroit Pistons’ franchise history.

“I am very excited at the opportunity to lead this great franchise into the future,” Mr. Gores said. “The passion and commitment of Pistons fans is legendary, and our goal is to meet every one of their expectations. That starts with the hard work and values necessary to compete for championships. It also includes being a real partner in the community, and we intend to do that as well. We’re going to do everything we can to ensure that this organization deserves the passion of our fans. We can’t wait to make a difference in Detroit.”
NBA Commissioner David Stern announced on Tuesday that the NBA Board of Governors had unanimously approved the change of ownership. 

“It's very important to us, because we think Tom will bring renewed vigor and energy to that great franchise,” Mr. Stern said at a news conference prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals. “He's really very anxious to get going…and that's a very good development for the Detroit Pistons and the good fans of Detroit.”

The Detroit Pistons are one of only seven teams in NBA history to win three or more championships and have made 40 playoff appearances in franchise history (fourth-most in the NBA).  Since the 2000-01 season, Detroit has compiled a record of 512-390 (.568), won six Central Division titles, made six consecutive trips to the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals from 2003 to 2008, won two Eastern Conference Championships (2004, 2005) and made consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, including an NBA Championship in 2004. 

On the entertainment side, PS&E’s Michigan venues average 300 events and 3.5 million guests annually.  The Palace has been voted Arena of the Year eight times by Performance magazine, twice by Pollstar magazine and is listed annually among North America’s top-grossing arenas.  Voted “Best Outdoor Concert Venue” in Pollstar’s 2000 Readers’ Poll, DTE Energy Music Theatre has been listed as the nation’s most attended amphitheater by Amusement Business/Billboard each of the 20 years of PS&E ownership.  Meadowbrook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University hosted a record-tying six sold out shows in 2010 and achieved its second highest attendance average under PS&E’s 17 years of management.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Davidson family and what has been built here. Palace Sports and Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons have enjoyed a great tradition of success and have been committed to being a positive influence in the community,” Mr. Gores added.  “Our mission is to continue that legacy and do it the right way.”

Karen Davidson transfers control of the company to Tom Gores after nearly 37 years of Davidson family ownership.  William Davidson became the club’s majority owner in 1974.

“Throughout this process, my goal was to find the right owner to lead Palace Sports and Entertainment into the future and I am certain that Tom Gores is that person,” said Davidson.  “He is an astute businessman, works hard and will bring a passion to this organization – that same passion that Bill had for so many years.”