For the first time since LeBron James left Cleveland, the rivalry between the Cavaliers and Pistons is heating back up.
Less than a week after the Cavaliers jumped to the first pick of the NBA draft, knocking the Pistons out of the first round, Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert and Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy exchanged comments on Detroit radio.
The issues began Friday morning when Gilbert criticized the Pistons for playing at the Palace, a half-hour north of downtown Detroit.
"Detroit doesn’t have an NBA team, because they’re somewhere 30 miles north of here, right? They’re in Auburn Hills, right?" Gilbert said on the "Mojo In The Morning" show.
Dan Gilbert has some selfish interests for saying what he said.
Stan Van Gundy
"Now that Sacramento is building an arena downtown, they’re the only one not in an urban core. The only one. It’s really not good business. It’s nothing against Auburn Hills, Oakland County or L. Brooks Patterson. An arena in the middle of a field is not an ideal thing."
There has been talk of the Pistons moving downtown, possibly to share the new arena being built by Mike Ilitch and the Red Wings, but Van Gundy hinted that Gilbert might have other reasons for hoping to see the team come back to Detroit. Gilbert, a Detroit native, has invested millions of dollars on real estate in the city in recent years.
"Dan Gilbert has some selfish interests for saying what he said," Van Gundy said on 105.1 FM in Detroit. "I think we know what those are. Finally I think he has enough to worry about with his own team than worrying about us."
The Pistons moved from Detroit’s Cobo Arena to the Pontiac Silverdome in 1978, then moved to the Palace of Auburn Hills in 1988. Unlike most NBA arenas, the Palace was entirely funded by team owner Bill Davidson. Davidson died in 2009, and local businessman Tom Gores bought the team and the arena two years later.
"Tom Gores has been involved in the city of Detroit, not just the surrounding area," Van Gundy said. "There are teams all over the place that carry the name of the city but represent an entire area. Where we play isn’t that much relevance."