The "For Sale" sign is finally gone and the Pistons can finally move on and get back to winning. The organization has fallen apart since the decision to sell the team started and now we finally have an owner.
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Pistons' sale timeline
March 13, 2009: William Davidson dies at age 86 and, in his 19-page will signed a week before his death, appoints widow Karen Davidson as one of three beneficiaries. Media reports about the will later reveal details about the Davidson family's plans for the franchise. Before Davidson's death, while his health is failing for most of 2009 and the franchise is valued at about $430 million, he says repeatedly that he will not sell the team and wants it kept in the family after he dies.
Jan 20, 2010: Karen Davidson confirms in a one-sentence statement that the Pistons are for sale. News comes a day after The Detroit News quoted ex-minority owner Oscar Feldman as saying a potential Pistons sale was the "word around town."
Feb. 17, 2010: After 32 years in the organization, Pistons CEO and president Tom Wilson resigns and joins Ilitch Holdings a week later as CEO and president of the new Ilitch Sports and Entertainment. He's considered the point man for a possible new downtown Detroit sports arena the Pistons and Red Wings could share if Ilitch buys the NBA team.
March 12, 2010: Detroit mayor Dave Bing, a former Pistons player, tells reporters he hopes the Pistons' new owner moves the team downtown. Bing's interest in a Pistons move to Detroit prompts Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson to wage a fight to keep the team at The Palace in Auburn Hills.
April 13, 2010: Karen Davidson hires Citigroup to assess the franchise's value. Several experts say the team could be worth between $300-350 million.
July 16, 2010: Pistons and NBA officials deny a Las Vegas Sun report that claims the franchise could move to Sin City. The Sun story quotes Chris Milam, CEO of International Development Management LLC, as saying an unnamed team is "under contract" to relocate if "other pieces of the puzzle fall into place."
Aug. 9, 2010: Mike Ilitch and his family make it clear in a conference call that they will pursue buying the Pistons. "Detroit is our home," Ilitch said in a statement read by his son, Chris Ilitch. "When I read in the paper there was the chance that this great sports town could lose one of its professional sports franchises, I just didn't see how we could let that happen." Chris Ilitch said the family remains committed to a new downtown Detroit arena for the Red Wings, regardless of whether the family purchases the Pistons.
Aug. 13, 2010: Former NBA star and Michigan State legend Magic Johnson, a Lansing native, confirms in an interview with NBA.com he's been contacted by prospective Pistons owners about his interest in the franchise, and hints he is willing to explore the opportunity. "If Mike Ilitch or somebody — you've got a good guy back there already in Joe Dumars … if somebody said, 'Hey can you come and think about helping Joe Dumars?' then I would think about it," Johnson said.
Sept. 23, 2010: Karen Davidson, at a team charity event, said the sale is "progressing very well," and expects it to be finalized by the start of the regular season.
Oct. 6, 2010: The Detroit News reports Mike Ilitch is the frontrunner to purchase the Pistons and made a bid in excess of $400 million. Ilitch and his family decline comment. Businessmen George Postolos and Tom Gores, also believed to be bidders, decline to disclose their interest in the franchise.
Oct. 21, 2010: NBA commissioner David Stern, attending an NBA Board of Governor's meeting, tells ESPN.com he expects the sale to be finalized in November. "It's not as fast a track as Golden State (another pending sale)," Stern said. "But we're looking for something definitive to happen in the month of November."
Oct. 22, 2010: Johnson tells the Los Angeles Times he will talk to Mike Ilitch about a possible purchase of the Pistons, after speculation that the NBA Hall of Famer is involved in the sale. Johnson adds he will look at "every opportunity" to be a majority owner of a sports team.
Oct. 29, 2010: Karen Davidson tells reporters before a Pistons home game she will have no public comment about the pending sale when it's finalized. "I'm going to hand over the keys and walk away," she said.
Nov. 8, 2010: Mike Ilitch tells Yahoo! Sports he's "close — real close" to finalizing a deal to purchase the Pistons. Ilitch, attending a Hockey Hall of Fame ceremony in Toronto, also tells the website his company, Ilitch Holdings Inc., wants to build a stadium in Detroit that houses the Red Wings and Pistons.
Nov. 13, 2010: After failing to reach a deal during a 30-day exclusivity period, Karen Davidson reopens the bidding process, contacting other possible suitors, including Gores.
Dec. 16, 2010: A Forbes.com report asserts Mike Ilitch has reduced his bid to buy the Pistons from more than $400 million to $360 million.
Jan. 7, 2011: The Detroit News reports Gores has solidified his position as the frontrunner to buy the team and is granted a 30-day exclusive negotiating window.
Jan. 27, 2011: A Forbes magazine report said the worth of the Pistons has dropped from $475 million to $360 million in one year.
Feb. 9, 2011: Gores sits with Davidson in her Palace suite, fueling speculation a deal might be near.
Feb. 11, 2011: Despite incorrect reports that Gores had agreed to buy the team, Pistons officials announce that they have extended exclusive negotiations with Gores for two more weeks.
Feb. 26, 2011: The period of exclusivity has ended with Gores, but the sides continue to negotiate.
April, 8, 2011: Gores' firm, Platinum Equity, announces it has a "definitive agreement" to buy the Pistons.