Dennis Mannion 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.
Tellem will not be directly involved with the Pistons’ basketball side — coach Stan Van Gundy will still have final say over personnel. He will be one of three people who report directly to Gores, along with Van Gundy and CEO Dennis Mannion. And his duties will run the gamut from looking at improvements to the Palace, to improving the team’s footprint in Detroit, to potentially working on the creation of a regional sports network. In switching careers, Tellem is leaving his position at Wasserman Media Group, where he headed the agency’s basketball division, and was considered the most powerful agent in basketball. He represented 42 NBA players — almost 10 percent of all the players in the league, who made more than $324 million this season in salary — and 12 All-Stars.
The Grand Rapids Drive won’t have a winning season on the court, but management of parent company Detroit Pistons are pleased with the first-year relationship with the NBA Development League team. “This first year our primary goal was creating a structure that matches our structure,” said Dennis Mannion, president & CEO of Palace Sports and Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons. “…We’re getting better at it. We have a monthly call in to go over things and with what Steve (Ybarra, the lead owner of the Drive) has learned it will help him so much in support and planning for next year.”
The most expensive, eye-popping and perhaps impressive of all renovations done to The Palace under owner Tom Gores awaits Detroit Pistons fans Saturday night. A new state-of-the-art scoreboard hangs in the middle of the arena and although it’s been in use during the preseason, Saturday’s home opener against the Brooklyn Nets is when many fans will get their first glimpse of the latest renovation to the building. Calling it a scoreboard is actually a huge understatement. “People hear about it, ‘Yeah, yeah you’ve got a scoreboard,” said Dennis Mannion, president of Palace Sports & Entertainment. “Then they walk into the seating bowl and the usual expression is ‘Oh my. Wow. Oh my.’ They’re overwhelmed.
Palace Sports & Entertainment put the eight days between Pistons home games to good use. The corporation dedicated the Matt Dobek Press Room before Sunday’s game against the Boston Celtics to honor the late Pistons vice president of public relations. More than 10 members of Dobek’s family were on hand to watch the ceremony featuring comments from Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars, Palace president Dennis Mannion and longtime NBA public relations executive Brian McIntyre. Pistons play-by-play announcer George Blaha presided.