NBA may not approve Pistons' move from Auburn Hills to new downtown arena
The NBA could potentially deny the Pistons move to Detroit if some legal and financial issues are not taken care of soon. The Pistons’ plan was to move from the Palace of Auburn Hills to downtown and begin their season at Little Caesar’s Arena this October. However, an affidavit related to the cost of the move has been filed and the result of that could lead to the Pistons’ relocation being postponed.
The filed affidavit is related to the increased cost of the arena. Despite an expectation for the project to be 62 percent privately funded, the estimated cost of everything has increased by more than $400 million. The argument appears to be over how much the public must pay in the arena deal. Per the Detroit Free Press
“In a sworn affidavit filed late Friday, Palace Sports & Entertainment and Detroit Pistons CFO Greg Campbell said the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court June 1 by activist Robert Davis and City Clerk candidate D. Etta Wilcoxon, might hamper the team’s plans to play their first preseason game on Oct. 4 in Detroit, nearly 40 years after former owner Bill Davidson took the team to Oakland County.
Campbell said receiving the public dollars was a “condition” of the team’s agreement with the Detroit Downtown Development Authority, the public entity that owns the Little Caesars Arena which is also a new home to the Detroit Red Wings.
The estimated cost of the project has increased from $450 million to $862 million and the project is anticipated to be 62% privately funded and 38% publicly funded. A new DDA proposal that council is to vote on Tuesday would issue an additional $34.5 million in bonds to support the Pistons’ relocation.”
Due to the potential lawsuit at hand, the Pistons may not gain approval from the NBA on their relocation to downtown Detroit. There’s a lot of financial issues in question and without a speedy resolution the Pistons could find themselves back in Auburn Hills at the start of next season.
“This uncertainty creates material financial risk to the Pistons and may affect the NBA’s evaluation of, and willingness to vote upon or approve of, the Pistons’ proposed relocation,” Campbell said in the affidavit. “The Pistons’ proposed relocation from Auburn Hills to the city remains subject to the approval of the National Basketball Association and its Board of Governors.”
Where the Pistons are playing next season might be up in the air at the moment, but it feels likely that eventually they will be back in downtown Detroit. Arena deals always lead to disagreements between the public and team. A final decision should be made at the Board of Governor’s meeting on July 11 when the NBA plans to vote on the Pistons’ relocation. The Pistons will need to find a resolution before then.