Pistons team with Wayne State University, announce $25M basketball arena

The Detroit Pistons announced plans to bring the NBA G-League to Detroit.

A specific timeline for the G-League to arrive in Detroit has not been determined. Discussions with NBA G-League officials regarding an expansion franchise and the Pistons current G-League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive, are ongoing. The Pistons and Drive recently extended their hybrid operating agreement through the 2020-21 G-League season.

“We continue to invest in the success of our franchise and the success of our community,” said Pistons Owner Tom Gores. “Bringing a G-League team to Detroit delivers on both fronts. It will give our players and coaches the best tools available to maximize performance, and it will add more fuel to the revitalization underway in Midtown and throughout Detroit.”

The G-League serves as the NBA’s developmental league preparing players, coaches, officials, trainers and front- office staff for NBA positions while acting as the league’s research and development laboratory. The league is growing in popularity, attracting a wide range of basketball fans by offering professional basketball in a fun, family-friendly environment.

Detroit Pistons Vice Chairman Arn Tellem said a long-term lease agreement with Wayne State will bring approximately 20-plus G League games to the school’s new arena each season. The Pistons will also work with Wayne State officials to host Pistons summer camps and clinics, possible MHSAA state high school games, AAU games and other basketball tournaments in the new facility.

“We are proud to support Wayne State’s vision for its new arena and help the school maximize the facility’s impact,” said Tellem. “This partnership will not only help generate revenue for the school, it will provide unique educational opportunities for students. Our goal is to create an incubator for young people to explore a diverse range of career possibilities in and around the business of sports.”The Pistons will work with Wayne State administrators to create academic programs and internship opportunities in fields like sports marketing, community relations, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and sports and entertainment business operations.

As part of a multi-faceted partnership with Wayne State University, the Pistons’ G-League affiliate will play in a new arena the school is planning to build for its men’s and women’s basketball programs less than two miles from both Little Caesars Arena and the new Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center. Wayne State’sBoard of Governors approved the new facility today.

Ed Stefanski, Senior Advisor to Tom Gores, said the same-city location will be great for players and promote increased continuity and collaboration between each organization’s front office, coaching and training staffs.

“The G-League can be a very powerful tool for player development and having your affiliate nearby and accessible is the best way to maximize the impact,” said Stefanski. “Young roster players, rookies and players on two-way contracts can shift back and forth efficiently, and rehab assignments for veteran players are easier to manage.”


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