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Pistons sale negotiations stall out, leaving team in limbo

Apr 1, 2011, 8:30 AM EDT

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This has happened twice now.

First the representatives of Pistons owner Karen Davidson — who has tried to sell the team for the past 15 months after the passing of her husband Bill — entered into exclusive negotiations with Mike Ilitch to sell the team. But after he got a closer look at the books his offer price came down and the talks fell apart.

Now Davidson and Citi Private Bank are negotiating with Tom Gores, and again the process seems to have stalled out. The Detroit News reports that things are not going well.

In fact, some close to the negotiators say that not only is no agreement imminent, Karen Davidson’s fatigue and frustration are growing.

One source close to Davidson last week said the process is so utterly problematic, she feels as though she has lost control of it. Her concern, in part, is that while Gores continually requires more information, too few details of an agreement are in place, despite more than two months of exclusive negotiations.

While the NBA is looking for a purchase price that reflects its valuation of the franchise, $420 million, the negotiations have yet to yield a path to that price or one more agreeable to Gores.

There are a lot of moving parts here — it’s not just the Pistons but also the Palace at Auburn Hills and some entertainment venues nearby that are involved in the sale.

But the problems with the sale leave the team in limbo.

The Pistons made no moves at the trade deadline. They have not moved players or fired coach John Kuester even though there is clearly friction between the two sides. Detroit the team needs to be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up (although some pieces like Rodney Stuckey and Greg Monroe are in place) but that is not happening.

And until there is an invested owner, nothing much is going to happen. Which means nothing much is going to happen soon.

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