Report: Mike Ilitch close to purchase of Detroit Pistons

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Thumbnail image for pistons_logo.pngMike Ilitch, the owner of the Detroit Red Wings and Tigers, is working on the final details to purchase the Detroit Pistons, according to the Associated Press and Crains Detroit Business Journal.

Current Pistons owner Karen Davidson (who took control when her husband Bill died) had said she wanted to have the team sold by the start of the season. It appears that the two sides may well have an agreement by then, although the sale cannot go through until the NBA Board of Governors (the owners) approve the sale, which likely will take a little longer.

The price is not yet known, although it is expected to be maybe $100 million less than the $450 million value estimated by Forbes last year.

This decision — when there were other suitors lined up — is a little bit of a surprise because of bad blood between Ilitch’s holding company and Davidson’s Palace Sports and Entertainment (which has included trips to court). However, Davidson said she had wanted to make sure the Pistons would not leave Detroit and this makes that a certainty.

Ilitch made his money as the founder of the Little Caesars pizza chain. Ilitch would become the only person to own teams in three of the four major sports leagues in the United States (NFL bylaws would prevent him from buying the Lions without selling the other teams).

It could be a good thing for a Pistons team that had been a powerhouse in much of the 2000s (what is the right name for that decade?) but had slipped in recent years and is on the verge of needing to rebuild on the court. Ilitch has had the Red Wings as one of the top teams in hockey during his tenure, and has done reasonably well in baseball (considering the tortured economics of that sport and competing with the big boys).

Ilitch has already started the planning for a new downtown Detroit arena that would house the Red Wings and now the Pistons, as part of a revival of that area. That deal now seems to take a step forward.

Owning three teams opens up some interesting ideas in terms of selling sponsorship and advertising for the three entieites.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)