Gores says keeping Drummond a priority for Pistons
DETROIT (AP) — On the day the Detroit Pistons opened their new training facility, owner Tom Gores discussed his hopes for the upcoming season.
Not surprisingly, he’d like more progress after the team made a brief playoff appearance a season ago.
“We have to do more,” Gores said. “Coach said it up there. He thinks we’re in great shape, a lot better than we were last year, when we made the playoffs. We need to get through the playoffs. We’ve got to win in the playoffs.”
Gores was on hand Monday at the opening of the team’s new training center and corporate headquarters in midtown Detroit. Coach Dwane Casey and Pistons players were also at the ceremony.
The new facility completes the team’s move to the city from suburban Auburn Hills. The Pistons are entering their third season playing their games at Little Caesars Arena downtown.
Gores was asked about a possible contract extension for Drummond, the team’s standout center. He spoke highly of Drummond but did not elaborate on any possible negotiations. He did say keeping Drummond in the fold is a priority.
“We know how dedicated we are to each other,” Gores said. “I’ve said it many times: He’s very underrated in a lot of ways for what he does, and culturally he’s been so good for this team, just in terms of his attitude, and just watching him really grow up. I met him when he was 18.”
Detroit has made the playoffs twice in the past four seasons, but the Pistons were swept in the first round both times. Last season it was at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks. It was Casey’s first season as Detroit’s coach, and the Pistons were limited when Blake Griffin — after a terrific season — wasn’t fully healthy in the playoffs.
Keeping Griffin healthy is a big key this season, and the Pistons are also hopeful they’ve improved their depth after adding Derrick Rose. Gores was asked if there might come a point when the team needs to consider a different path forward after relying on the core of Griffin, Drummond and point guard Reggie Jackson.
“I think right now we feel really good about where we’re at,” Gores said. “Obviously, we have to succeed and win, and judge by if we’re not winning. But right now we feel really good about it.”
The $90 million Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center includes a sports medicine, treatment and rehab facility managed by the Henry Ford Health System, as well as retail and public spaces. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan was also at the opening.
“The Pistons have moved 250 employees into the city of Detroit today,” Duggan said. “For every player on the court, there’s another 20 people who are working here in operations, in ticket sales, in marketing and facilities, finance and trainers and the like.”