Pistons in talks to move downtown next season, deal sought to share Little Caesar's arena

Posted at 11:28 PM, Oct 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-26 23:28:29-04

As the Piston's tip-off the NBA season in Toronto, there are multiple reports the team is in talks to return to downtown Detroit next season.

Executives with the Pistons and the Red Wings are reportedly hammering out an agreement that would move the Pistons from the Palace of Auburn Hills to the Red Wings new home-- Little Caesar's arena. The two sides are looking into what it would take to modify the arena--which is still under construction-- for both basketball and hockey.

Talks to move the Pistons downtown drew mixed reaction at Ciccarelli's sports bar in Auburn Hills.

"I think it's a fantastic idea. Bring all sports back to downtown Detroit," said patron Albert Altamira.

The talks are being orchestrated by Pistons owner Tom Gores and Chris Illiich, CEO of Illitch holdings,
which owns the arena. The main sticking points: Gores doesn't just want to be a tenant. He wants an equal partnership. He also wants a return on the improvements he's made to the Palace.

The fate of the Palace may prove vital. Gores has made 50 million dollars in improvements to the venue. But it will soon have competition for concerts from the new arena-- raising fears that it may become another eyesore like the Silverdome-- former home to the Detroit Lions.

Moving the Pistons downtown also has drawbacks for fans.

"You don't have to worry about parking downtown. You got your own parking at the Palace. They've been there for a while. I think they should stay," said James Rupp.

Any deal would be subject to approval by the NBA and the city of Detroit. Gores is set to attend the team's home opener against Orlando Friday and will address the media at that time.