Arn Tellem Rumors
A reshuffling is underway among the leadership group at Palace Sports & Entertainment, the organizational entity over the Detroit Pistons. Vice chairman Arn Tellem and Bob Wentworth, a key figure of the ownership group, will now oversee business operations, while PS&E president and CEO Dennis Mannion will move into a new role, a person with firsthand knowledge of the process told the Free Press on Saturday. Pistons vice president of public relations Kevin Grigg confirmed the news but declined further comment.
When rumors of the Pistons moving have bubbled to the surface in the past, Platinum Equity spokesman Mark Barnhill has said three criteria must be met to even consider such a move: The Pistons must be an equal partner in the new arena, not just a tenant. The Pistons want to get a return on the substantial improvements made to the Palace of Auburn Hills since Gores bought the team. The Pistons have to ensure that the move doesn’t negatively impact season-ticket holders and sponsors.
Myers and Tellem grew close. The duo traveled Europe together, representing Pau Gasol and Danilo Gallinari. Foodies, they obsessed about meals, whether planning breakfast or a 1 AM snack after a day of meetings. They took late-night walks, winding through Treviso or Milan, engaging in what Tellem calls “Seinfield-ian philosophical conversations” about everything from politics to “what are we doing in our whole existence” to one of Tellem’s latest fixations, such as the identity of the genius who brought back Brussels sprouts. “They were like walking meditations,” says Tellem. Occasionally the two discussed being on the other side, as GMs. It was an idea that lodged in Myers’s head, one he’d spoken about with Kristen as far back as their first dates: Run a team.
Gores, the Detroit Pistons’ owner, pledged to raise $10 million toward relief efforts in Flint, through his FlintNOW Foundation. Arn Tellem, the former high-powered player agent who joined the organization last fall as Vice Chair of Palace Sports and Entertainment, was in Flint Friday meeting with philanthropic and charity organizations, and returned Sunday morning to meet with local leaders and hear presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who came to Flint and spoke at a local church. “We’re committed, starting with Tom,” Tellem said Sunday. “He’s a native. He’s deeply concerned about Flint, and cares about it. I can tell you that the entire organization, the coaches, the players, the entire staff at the Pistons and the Palace, we’re all committed to making a difference. This is not going to be a one-month effort of writing some checks. We’re going to be involved and continue to be of help and support to this community. It’s sustaining it, and we get that. And Tom’s committed, and I’m committed. Everyone that’s involved in this effort is committed to seeing it through.”
“Arn and the group that is sort of on the ground from Platinum Equity took a great deal of tine to come and meet with us and find out what was going on,” United Way CEO Jamie Gaskin said Sunday afternoon. “The commitment of $10 million is a commitment that will take place over time. We expect them to not only invest in the immediate recovery but the long-term health care fund that’s been set up for these kids, and even looking into and exploring economic development, because that’s such an important part of our community. Even with this tragedy and challenge, we have to have jobs. People have to live here. Our expectation is that they’re going to continue to stay plugged in here as they continue to make that longer term commitment.”
In a business where a lot of agent egos are as big as the players they represent, Tellem — while quite assured his position on his clients’ worth was the correct one — was able to do business relatively cordially with almost every team, and counted powerful executives like Jerry West as close personal friends. Players went to Tellem, wherever he was at a given moment. And when he left, they left. Agents used to recruit against WMG by saying Tellem had too many clients and could never pay enough attention to them. Now, they recruit against WMG by saying Tellem did all the work there. “It’s pretty simple — when you have a big agency and you have a legacy agent, the business with representation is based on the relationship,” an industry source said. “The longer you’ve been with a client, the less they care about what agency you’re with — they care about you.”