Auburn Hills — Pistons owner Tom Gores saw some of that championship team chemistry during a team meeting last weekend at his Birmingham condo.
He saw players mingling, enjoying each other’s company, and hanging on his every word.
A year into the Stan Van Gundy era, Gores feels better about his franchise and the team that hit the court Wednesday night for its home opener against the Jazz.
“I think (Van Gundy) really began to reset the culture of the Pistons and what I’ve seen, I am really comfortable with it,” Gores said. “I am pretty excited about it. I give so much credit to Stan Van Gundy. I can talk about culture. I can talk about chemistry. But that has to get done every single day. That has to get done on the floor.
“It is not about speeches. It is about walking the talk. I feel like my vision is about to walk the talk because of the people on the ground.”
Gores repeated what his ownership is about. He is hoping this group of young players develops into a title-winning bunch.
He wants the franchise’s fourth title.
“I’ve always said it is patience with progress and I think we are making progress,” Gores said. “I expect this team to be a championship team. This is why we are here. We do have a lot of young guys on our team. I don’t want young to be an excuse. We have talented people. I actually told them I started a company when I was young. I was very young and everybody said you are too young to have a company. There are no excuses. So I expect a lot out of our team.”
The Pistons have sunk a lot of money into renovating The Palace. And more upgrades are coming.
But that doesn’t mean the Pistons won’t move downtown in the future.
“We’ve talked about this for a long time,” Gores said. “I think you’ve got to respect the home you are in. Whatever home you are living in, you’ve got to make it the best possible. I really believe that.
“So I don’t rule out downtown, but for now this is our home. I can’t have guests in the house tonight and not take care of this house. That is our responsibility running this franchise. We want to do everything 100 percent. Whatever the future is, I’ll see what happens. But the fact is tonight there are kids, parents, fans and everybody else here.”
One of the biggest accomplishments for Gores recently was convincing Drummond to delay his big payday until next season. It gives the Pistons $13 million in cap relief for next season.
The groundwork started when Gores bought the team. He and Drummond bonded and talked regularly about the future.
“The outcome is just a matter of trust we had,” Gores said. “Andre is smart enough to know we need some cap space in order to build this team. I am not really surprised. I always believed in Andre and big picture thinking.
“He knows if this franchise is going to be good, he has to be good.”