New TV deal means Pistons’ Andre Drummond set to cash in

This summer, 22-year-old Andre Drummond will become a very, very rich man.

The All-Star center is up for a new contract, and the Detroit Pistons have every intention of giving him a big one. Drummond averaged 16.2 points and 14.8 rebounds per game, good enough to earn All-NBA Third Team honors. (I guess free throws don’t factor in to that decision.)

Is Drummond actually worth north of $20 million per year? Maybe, maybe not. But the Pistons have to give it to him.

Drummond was a restricted free agent last summer, meaning the Pistons had first dibs at re-signing him and had the option to match any offer another team gave him. Instead of cashing in, Drummond accepted a qualifying offer, a one-year offer every team makes to their impending restricted free agents worth 125 percent of last season’s salary.

The move seemed like a selfless act by Drummond; it allowed the Pistons to sign point guard Reggie Jackson to a four-year, $64 million deal. But it was also a savvy move on Drummond’s part.

New television deal

The league signed a new television deal with ESPN, ABC and TNT in 2014 and it goes into effect this upcoming season, worth $24 billion over nine years. Compare this to the previous deal signed in 2007 worth $7.4 billion. The payments to the league increase every year, rising from $930 million to $2.66 billion, according to the New York Times.

Rising salary cap

Andre Drummond

So what does the NBA’s television deal have to do with Drummond cashing in this offseason? The money from the deal is factored into “basketball related income,” which is a component in determining the salary cap for the league. The more basketball related income, the higher the salary cap.

The projected salary cap for 2016-17 is $94 million. This is an increase from $70 million in 2015-16, which was an all-time high for the NBA. The figure is projected because the league doesn’t officially set the new salary cap until the beginning of July.

Players currently under contract for next season will see their salaries rise in proportion with the salary cap, which is nice for them, but even better for free agents. Salaries will balloon and non-superstars will be getting superstar money. Andre Drummond likes that scenario.

In the NBA, teams cannot sign players for as much money as they want. There is a limit to how much money a player can earn per year, based on number of years in the league and a percentage of the salary cap. For a player with six or fewer years’ experience in the NBA, like Drummond, the maximum salary per year is 25 percent of the salary cap. Do the math, and that works out to be $23.5 million for the first year. Not too shabby.

If you think these numbers are outrageous, just wait for the 2017-18 season. The salary cap will likely jump even higher to $107 million, making the outrageous deals this offseason seem conservative.

New apparel deal with Nike

The NBA reached a deal with Nike to be the official apparel provider of the league. The eight-year agreement is worth about $1 billion and will go into effect for the 2017-18 season. This is a 245 percent increase annually from the previous deal, according to ESPN. That’s a lot of basketball-related income to inflate the salary cap.

Adidas AG previously had an 11-year deal with the league and decided not to negotiate a new deal.

Jersey advertisements

For the first time in the history of the four major U.S. sports, the NBA will allow advertisements on jerseys starting in the 2017-18 season.

No, you won’t be rooting for the General Motors Pistons any time soon.

The advertisements will be a 2½ by 2½ inch patch in the top corner of the jersey. ThePhiladelphia 76ers became the first team to sell the patch, agreeing to a three-year, $15 million deal with StubHub.

This isn’t quite on the level of European soccer jersey advertisements. Chevrolet andManchester United signed a deal in 2014 worth $80 million per year, according to Forbes. The Sixers will be making mere chump change compared to those soccer teams, but the NBA sees this as a revenue stream that will only get bigger.

The money from the jersey advertising will be split in half. The first half will be split again in half, with one portion going to the team that sold the ad and one portion going into a revenue-sharing pool. The second half will be split with the players.

Is Drummond worth it?

So why do the Pistons have to re-sign Drummond? Well, because they can’t do much better than him right now. The other centers on the Pistons’ roster are Aron Baynes and Joel Anthony. Baynes was a serviceable backup last season, but the drop-off in talent was evident when Drummond was off the court. The Pistons are likely to release Anthony.

Drummond is also the best available center on the free agent market. Following are centers who will become free agents this offseason:

  • Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons): Age 22, 16.2 PPG, 14.8 RPG
  • Hassan Whiteside (Miami Heat): Age 27, 14.2 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 3.7 BPG
  • Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets): Age 30, 13.7 PPG, 11.8 RPG
  • Al Jefferson (Charlotte Hornets): Age 31, 12 PPG, 6.4 RPG
  • Joakim Noah (Chicago Bulls): Age 31, 4.3 PPG, 8.8 RPG
  • Bismack Biyombo (Toronto Raptors): Age 23, 5.5 PPG, 8 RPG

Drummond is the youngest and had the best stats out of the top five free agent centers.

However, one stat left off that list is free throw percentage. Drummond set the NBA record for worst free throw shooting last season at 35.5 percent. This makes him a liability in late-game situations, when teams foul him intentionally so he has to shoot free throws. Coach Stan Van Gundy usually has to take him out of the game at this point because of his inability to make anything from the “charity stripe.”

Paying someone $23.5 million to sit on the bench during the most crucial part of the game might seem preposterous, but in the economic boom era of the NBA, the preposterous will become the norm.


29-year-old polar bear to join Detroit Zoo exhibit

The Detroit Zoo will be bringing in a new polar bear to its Arctic Ring of Life.

Tundra, a 29-year-old female, comes from the Indianapolis Zoo, which announced Monday that it will be closing its polar bear exhibit for good.

“The Arctic Ring of Life is an incredible facility for this polar bear to spend the remainder of her golden years,” Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the Detroit Zoological Society, said in a statement. “She will receive the best possible care during her time here and enjoy the comforts of this expansive, naturalistic space.”

The Indianapolis Zoo is shutting down its exhibit, which opened in 1988, because it needs updating. “As we constantly look at our asset replacement and repair, the exhibit is due for an upgrade in three to five years,” Judy Palermo, a senior public relations manager for the Indianapolis Zoo, told Crain’s. “For Tundra, our 29-year-old polar bear, that means a relocation. While healthy now, Tundra is older and now is the right time to move her for her best interest.”

Palermo said the zoo explored many different options before deciding the Detroit Zoo had the best facilities for an older bear like Tundra. The Indianapolis Zoo is donating Tundra to the Detroit Zoo free of charge, and will cover all moving expenses.

“Considered one of the leading polar bear facilities in the world, the Detroit Zoo offers large spaces and pools with easy slopes for Tundra to enter and exit the water, especially as she gets older,” Palermo said.

Polar bears usually live about 15-18 years in the wild, but they have longer life spans in captivity due to health care and nutrition provided by the zoo.

The Detroit Zoo’s Arctic Ring of Life, opened in 2001, is home to two other polar bears: female Talini and male Nuka, both 11 years old. The facility is one of the largest polar bear habitats in North America, encompassing more than 4 acres of outdoor and indoor habitats and public spaces, according to the release.

Detroit Zoo’s new marketing campaign highlights wildlife conservation, sustainability efforts

The Detroit Zoological Society has launched a new marketing campaign titled “The Zoo That Could,” focused on highlighting the zoo’s recent wildlife conservation, energy sustainability and education efforts.

Poetry, art and animated videos are used in the campaign, which will also include print, digital and social media elements, according to a release.

“This campaign changes the conversation and explains what we do and why we do it,” Ron Kagan, Detroit Zoological Society executive director and CEO, said in a statement. “We hope it will educate and inspire the community to think of their zoo in a whole new way.”

Southfield-based advertising agency Doner developed the campaign for the zoo pro bono, and has worked with the zoo for 34 years. Animation was done by New York-based creative agency Psyop. The campaign has been in development for about nine months, said Patricia Mills Janeway, communications director for the Detroit Zoological Society.

“The zoo has a great image already,” David DeMuth, president and co-CEO of Doner, toldCrain’s. “People love it; they set record attendance numbers. [The goal] is to enhance their image in a different way so people appreciate all the work the zoo does behind the scenes or around the world with animal welfare and green initiatives.”

Two videos are already up on the campaign’s website, The other two videos will debut later in the campaign. The animated 60-second clips are narrated by a child and each video focuses on one of four areas the zoo wants to highlight: conservation, animal welfare, sustainability and education.

“We wanted it to stand out, and we thought the visual approach and the poetry, it’s sort of like viewing it from a child’s eyes,” DeMuth said. “Telling those impactful stories that way will get people to pay attention.”

The organization will spend $250,000 on ads on Detroit TV stations that will run starting Monday and through July. The print and digital elements will run through September.

The zoo announced in April that it will become the first in the U.S. to use a biodigester. The $1.1 million project will convert more than 400 tons of animal manure into compost and capture the methane byproduct to help power the Ruth Roby Glancy Animal Health Complex. In another energy conservation effort, the zoo said in December it would switch to 100 percent renewable electricity from wind farms to power its Royal Oak campus. The zoo also stopped selling plastic bottles of water last year.

The Detroit Zoological Society, which operates the Detroit Zoo and the Belle Isle Nature Zoo, was named 2015 Best-Managed Nonprofit by Crain’s. The Royal Oak location hosted nearly 1.5 million visitors last year and is home to 2,400 animals.

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SRG Global to move headquarters to Troy

SRG Global Inc., a tier one interior and exterior trim supplier, is moving its world headquarters to Troy from Warren.

The new facility, at 800 Stephenson Highway north of 14 Mile Road, is more than 51,000 square feet. It will be home to more than 250 employees who support the company’s global and North American business, the company announced Tuesday.

No timetable was given for the move.

“Our new facility was created to inspire greater collaboration between our employees and customers, which will help drive more innovation into our designs and manufacturing solutions that meet the auto industry’s evolving needs,” said Dave Prater, president and CEO of SRG Global. “The building serves as a creative center focusing on our employees’ fulfillment and will be a place for them to foster ideas, share knowledge, inspire new technology developments and to develop their capabilities to create the greatest value.”

The company employs more than 5,600 people worldwide and has an advanced development center in Taylor.

SRG Global is a Guardian Industries company.

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Magna Seating to add 148 jobs, invest nearly $6 million at Highland Park facility

Magna Seating Detroit plans to invest nearly $6 million in its Highland Park facility and add 148 new jobs, thanks in part to a public-private investment to rebuild the Davison Freeway service drives near its facility.

The Michigan Department of Transportation awarded a $777,749 Transportation Economic Development Fund Category A grant to the city of Highland Park to help rebuild the service drives, according to a news release. The city will contribute $233,100 in matching funds for the project, which will cost $1,010,849 total, the released stated.

MDOT said Highland Park will reconstruct both directions of the Davison service drives of from Oakland Avenue east to the Detroit Connecting Railroad’s bridge.

Magna was considering locating its expansion in Ontario or Tennessee because of the poor condition of the roads, northbound and southbound M-8 near Oakland Park Boulevard. They were so deteriorated the company’s trucks and products were getting damaged as a result, according to a release.

“This program provides a way to target specific infrastructure challenges that would otherwise directly and negatively affect economic growth,” said Frank W. Ervin III, senior director of government affairs for Magna International. “The improvement of the Davison service drives will allow us to more easily support our customers from our Highland Park facility and make a positive economic impact in the community.”

Highland Park officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Work on the project is expected to begin at the beginning of next year and should take about two months, according to Michael Leon, TEDF program manager for MDOT’s Office of Economic Development.

Magna Seating Detroit is a division of Magna International, a Canadian global automotive supplier that has 306 manufacturing operations and 92 product development, engineering and sales centers in 29 countries.

TEDF helps finance highway, road and street projects that encourage private investment in Michigan resulting in job creation or retention.

Two additional TEDF grants were also awarded Tuesday:

  • In Jackson County, a $269,471 grant was given to widen and reconstruct roads nearLomar Machine and Tool Co., which designs and manufactures machines for aerospace, automotive, agriculture, medical and military markets. The county will pay $69,823 and Lomar will contribute $20,000. Lomar is investing $2.5 million to expand its facility, creating 18 jobs and retaining 24, according to a release. The company considered moving to Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas and Mexico.
  • In Iosco County, a $1,090,991 grant was given to replace Whittemore Road bridge nearNational Gypsum. The company has a quarry and wallboard plant in Grant and Sherman townships, with 57 employees. The bridge has been deteriorating over the years and as a result, its weight limit has been downgraded from 60 to 28 tons. The company indicated the facilities would likely close if no improvements were made to the bridge. Iosco County Road Commission will provide $275,309 in matching funds, according to Leon.
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Arts, Beats & Eats adds selfie contest, parking meter painting to 2016 festival

Always aiming to keep Arts, Beats & Eats fresh, the 19th annual Labor Day weekend festival in Royal Oak will add a parking meter beautification program and scavenger hunt.

Organizers of the 2016 Ford Arts, Beats & Eats presented by Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort on Wednesday announced the new programs and unveiled a commemorative poster for the Sept. 2-5 festival.

Meters Made Beautiful presented by Ford, a new collaboration between the festival and theRoyal Oak Commission for the Arts, will invite artists to submit a custom design to paint parking meters in the city. Professional and amateur artists ages 18 and older can submit their applications through July 21 at

“With the pool of creative talent in our region, we’re confident this program will be enthusiastically embraced and showcase some really cool, phenomenal art like nothing we’ve seen,” Bradley Bellamy, Detroit Region Business Development specialist at Ford Motor Co., said in a statement.

Artists will have the chance to win $4,000 in cash awards, selected by a jury and vote from festival attendees.

“We really believe we’ve built a great synergy between Ford Arts, Beats & Eats and the Commission for the Arts that will engage festivalgoers and bring art to the forefront of the event,” Royal Oak Mayor Jim Ellison said in the statement.

Another addition is a social media scavenger hunt called #ABEHunt16. Participants must take a photo of, with or in the location of each item or place on the scavenger hunt list, then post the photo on the #ABEHunt16 app on Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort’s Facebook page. Entrants can receive an additional entry if they use the Soaring Eagle Snapchat geofilter.

Each day, four winners will be selected to receive an overnight stay at the resort and other prizes.

“People have always loved Ford Arts, Beats and Eats as a backdrop for selfies and Facebook photos, and now they are able to win prizes for doing just what they normally would do while at the festival,” said Raul Venegas, director of marketing and entertainment at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort.

Royal Oak-based FWD, a design and marketing firm, created this year’s commemorative poster. The design is composed of individual shapes and colors that coalesce forming the poster’s type and imagery, representing the festival’s ability to bring so many people together.

“We are inspired by the talent, creativity and craftsmanship of our local artists, musicians and chefs and designed the poster to celebrate them,” said Melanie Derro, designer and partner at FWD.”

The schedule of musical acts for the festival will be released sometime in early August, organizers said. The event is being produced again this year by Royal Oak-based Jonathan Witz and Associates.

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Linda Forte, Comerica’s chief diversity officer, to retire after 42 years

Linda Forte’s 42-year career at Comerica Bank will come to a close in August.

Based in Detroit and a longtime community activist, the senior vice president of business affairs and chief diversity officer announced Thursday that she will retire from the company.

Nathaniel Bennett, senior vice president of talent acquisition, will add the title of chief diversity officer after Forte’s retirement. He will continue to be based in the bank’s headquarters city of Dallas.

“I have been blessed with a career in which I could fulfill my passion to empower others,” Forte said in a statement. “It has been a privilege to help raise appreciation and support for the diverse members of our community, as well as make our communities stronger through corporate contributions and volunteerism.”

Forte has been actively involved in the city of Detroit, serving on boards for the Economic Development Corp., Local Development Finance Authority, Neighborhood Development Corp., Henry Ford Health System, New Detroit and Downtown Detroit Business Improvement Zone. Forte was also appointed as a commissioner for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department in 2011 by Mayor Dave Bing.

“Under Linda’s leadership, Comerica has contributed millions of dollars to nonprofits in the communities we serve, provided our colleagues meaningful community volunteer opportunities, and driven our diversity program forward, making it one of the best and most recognized in the country,” Ralph W. Babb Jr., chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

Forte has earned several awards during her career at Comerica, including the 2014 Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion Annual Humanitarian Award, the 2014 Michigan Women’s Foundation Woman of Achievement and Courage and was recognized in 2016 byBlack Enterprises’ “Top Executives in Diversity,” according to the release.

She was named to Crain’sMost Influential Women list in 2007 and 100 Black Business Leaders list in 1998.

Bennett, 44, became vice president of corporate human resources in 2009 and has been included in Comerica’s diversity program since then. He was promoted to senior vice president in 2010, making him responsible for all talent acquisition at Comerica. He graduated from Rice University with a degree in political science.

“When I joined Comerica, I recognized immediately the robustness and vigor around our diversity and inclusion efforts, and I am very enthusiastic about carrying that baton forward,” Bennett said in a statement.

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Michigan health centers to receive $5.5 million to expand oral health services

Fifteen health centers in Michigan will receive $5,583,097 to expand oral health services and increase the number of patients they can serve, the Health Resources and Services Administration announced Thursday.

“The funding we are awarding will reduce barriers to quality dental care for hundreds of thousands of Americans by bringing new oral health providers to health centers across the country,” Sylvia Burwell, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services secretary, said in a statement.

Following are the health centers and how much funding they will receive:

  • Alcona Citizens for Health, Inc. (Harrisville) – $350,000
  • Baldwin Family Health Care (Baldwin) – $350,000
  • Center for Family Health, Inc. (Jackson) – $350,000
  • Cherry Street Services, Inc. (Grand Rapids) – $350,000
  • Covenant Community Care, Inc. (Detroit) – $525,000
  • Detroit Central City Community Mental Health, Inc. (Detroit) – $350,000
  • Detroit Health Care for the Homeless (Detroit) – $525,000
  • Family Health Center, Inc. (Kalamazoo) – $350,000
  • Grace Health, Inc. (Battle Creek) – $350,000
  • Health Delivery, Inc. (Saginaw) – $350,000
  • MidMichigan Health Services, Inc. (Houghton Lake) – $333,097
  • Northwest Michigan Health Services(Traverse City) – $350,000
  • Oakland Integrated Healthcare Network (Pontiac) – $350,000
  • Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center(Gwinn)- $350,000
  • Western Wayne Family Health Centers (Inkster) – $350,000

Along with the Michigan funding, HRSA will provide nearly $156 million in funding for 420 health centers in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to a news release. The money will go toward hiring approximately 1,600 new dentists, dental hygienists, assistants, aides and technicians for 785,000 new patients.

HRSA was created in 1982 as an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and has a budget of $10 billion.

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