A story out of the United Arab Emirates this week suggested the Detroit Pistons could be sold to investor groups from the UAE or Qatar. The story, published in The Nationall and brought to light by Detroit blog PistonPowered, quoted NBA commissioner David Stern, and the context suggested groups from the Middle East were bidding on the Pistons.
The NBA, however, told SBNation.com that it is not aware of any bids for the Pistons or any NBA team stemming from the Middle East. Stern had simply commented that the NBA is open to foreign investment -- as evidenced by Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov's purchase of the New Jersey Nets -- and that the league would not oppose Middle East ownership of a franchise on any generalized basis.
Detroit-area pizza baron Mike Illitch is considered the front-runner for the Pistons franchise, which was put up for sale by Karen Davidson earlier this year. Her husband Bill Davidson, who had owned the Pistons since 1974, died in 2009. Illitch's bid for the team has been slowed by negotiations over sale price; other local groups remain waiting in the wings.
No other NBA teams are currently believed to be for sale on the open market, excluding the New Orleans Hornets, where local businessman Gary Chouest has been the rumored favorite for months. The Nets, Wizards, Bobcats and Warriors have all changed hands in the past year.