Pistons owner Tom Gores, Christopher Ilitch, CEO of Ilitch Holdings and Mayor Mike Duggan announce plans for the Pistons to return to Detroit.
Detroit — Since Andre Drummond was drafted by the Pistons in 2012, he was continually asked by fans when the team was going to move downtown.
Following Tuesday’s official announcement that the Pistons are closing in on a deal to relocate from The Palace in Auburn Hills to the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit next season, Drummond doesn’t have to worry about fielding that question anymore.
“With that news coming, it's huge,” Drummond said during the teams’ annual Thanksgiving holiday meal event at Eastern Market. “It's like everybody's energy, their vibe, their excitement, their love for the team is just going through the roof. Everybody has been dying for us to come back downtown.
“I appreciate everybody that supported me all these years and now that we're going downtown, I think that our support rate and our fan ratio is going to skyrocket because everybody that really supports the Pistons is going to be there."
Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said the announcement marked an “exciting day” for the franchise, which will be joining the Red Wings, Lions and Tigers in the downtown area as soon as the deal is finalized.
“I think the big thing for us — Dave Bing talks about it all the time — of all the sports, basketball is the city game,” Van Gundy said. “Dave’s point was if any of the sports should be downtown in the city, it should be basketball. I think that's a great point for us."
For Marcus Morris, it was about time the Pistons are returning to play in the city that it represents.
"We want that inner-city energy. Some of the people aren't as fortunate as we are to be able to travel all the way to Auburn Hills all the time and I think the people in Auburn Hills are probably more fortunate to travel down to Detroit,” Morris said. “I think it's going to be a good group of people. I think it's going to be electric.
"I think this city deserves a team and deserves the Pistons to be in the city."
While people at the team’s event expressed their joy and happiness about the news to the players, Tobias Harris acknowledged it’s bittersweet.
“We think it's a great move for our team, especially in the steps that were taken,” Harris said. “It'll be great to be in the city of Detroit. Obviously, we love playing at Auburn Hills, we got to finish our season there and we love the fans there, but we know our fans are going to follow us wherever we go.”