Pistons sale could be complete next week

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Tom Gores, a Michigan native worth an estimated $2.2 billion, will complete his purchase of the Detroit Pistons as soon as next week, the Detroit News reports.

It may well take longer to complete the deal, but the goal is to have the sale done in time to present it to the NBA Board of Governors — the other owners — at their meeting All-Star Weekend, Feb. 18 to 20 in Los Angeles.

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.

He is a guy known for buying struggling businesses and turning them into something profitable. He’s also known as a guy who does not overpay for properties he buys. Forbes had estimated the Pistons (and the Palace at Auburn Hills) to be worth $480 million, but with the down economy hitting Michigan very hard, and the slumping play of the Pistons hurting the team’s gate, this sale is likely for considerably less. No actual sale price has been leaked.

The Pistons are owned by Karen Davidson, who took control of the team after the passing of her husband Bill. She has worked with Citibank as her agent to sell the Pistons.

It appeared Mike Ilitch — the Little Caesars Pizza founder and already owner of the Red Wings and Tigers in Detroit — was going to purchase the team and had an exclusive negotiating agreement after coming is as the high bidder. However, after getting a look at the actual books of the franchise he decreased his offer dramatically. Soon the process was again opened to others.

Now it appears Gores is on the verge of completing purchase of the team. He declined to comment when approached by the Detroit News at last week’s Lakers/Pistons game in Los Angeles (where he lives now).

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.

The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.

Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.

A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.