Michigan Native Gores appears frontrunner to buy Pistons

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Thumbnail image for pistons_logo.pngYou know that Tom Gores has money — he was seen near courtside for Game 7 between the Lakers and Celtics, and they were not giving those tickets away.

Gores now appears to be the frontrunner to buy the Pistons, according to the Detroit News.

Gores was raised in Flint, went to Michigan State, used to sell computer equipment in Michigan but moved to California and now is the man behind Platinum Equity, which is a power in the leveraged buyout business. At age 46, he is worth an estimated $2.2 billion.

Gores and his team have been out to visit the Palace at Auburn Hills twice in recent weeks. There are some good signs for Pistons fans if he becomes the guy:

Gores bears interesting similarities to late Pistons owner Bill Davidson.

• Gores and Davidson both bought numerous struggling companies, changing the structure and turning a profit.

• Like Davidson, Gores has a strong interest in sports — he coaches youth soccer and basketball, and attends Michigan State football games.

Also in the running to buy the Pistons (and this could still go to any of them): Mike Illitch, owner of the Red Wings and Tigers, who wants to move the Pistons to a new building in downtown Detroit; George Postolos, former Rockets team president who almost ended up buying the Bobcats but was outbid by Michael Jordan; and a group of investors based in Dubai.

Kevin Love unsure about opening-night return

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He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.

Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:

“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”

Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.

“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”

At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.