The purchase of Detroit‘s hoops team could end up coming from a far-away land, as the Free Press reports: “About a month after the Pistons’ exclusive 30-day negotiating window with Red Wings and Tigers owner Mike Ilitch passed, the Abu Dhabi-based National reported Thursday that Middle East investment groups were in discussions to buy the Pistons. The English language newspaper attributed its report to NBA commissioner David Stern. ‘The interest and discussions have taken place in reference to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar,’ Stern said, declining to name the parties. ‘There is more than one discussion.’ Later Thursday, though, the NBA released a statement to downplay the report: ‘There has been interest in league franchises from various investors in Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but (the NBA refutes) a report that specific negotiations are ongoing for a potential sale of the Pistons to a group from the Middle East.’ Here’s the big picture for fans and the future of the franchise: The NBA did not dispute a key quote from Stern in the National’s report. He also said: ‘That is a team that has been, and is having, negotiations with different potential investors.’”