Is Glen Taylor really going to sell the Timberwolves this time?
After some starts and stops through the years, the longtime NBA owner is finalizing a deal to sell the Wolves to former big-league star Alex Rodriguez and billionaire Marc Lore, according to multiple reports. The plan would be for Taylor to maintain control of the franchise for two-and-a-half years before Rodriguez and Lore move from limited to majority partners.
The Athletic reported the former Mariners, Rangers and Yankees star and Lore have signed a letter of intent and have a 30-day exclusive negotiating window with Taylor. Taylor the Athletic that negotiations have all been conducted with the idea that Rodriguez and Lore will keep the team in Minnesota.
The Athletic said the two sides have agreed on a $1.5 billion valuation for the franchise but there are more negotiations that must take place.
Rodriguez and Lore, who was the president and CEO of Walmart E-Commerce from 2016 to earlier this year, issued a statement that read: “We look forward to entering this phase of the process with Glen Taylor. Our respect for him and the legacy he has built lays an amazing foundation for what is to come. We are excited by the prospect of getting to know the Timberwolves organization … the talented team and their incredible fans.”
Taylor’s latest desire to sell the Wolves dates to last July when he said in a statement that he had retained The Raine Group to explore a potential sale of the franchise. At the time, former Wolves star Kevin Garnett said he would be interested in being part of a group that could buy the team, but Garnett posted on Instagram in March that his group was no longer in the running.
Sportico, which was the first to report on Taylor’s interest in selling the Wolves last summer, said he was seeking “at least $1.2 billion” for the franchise.
Taylor, who will turn 80 on April 20, purchased the Wolves in 1994 for $88.5 million.
In 2015, the Star Tribune reported Taylor was proceeding toward selling 30 percent of the franchise to a group led by Los Angeles private-equity investor Steve Kaplan, with conditions that Kaplan would buy controlling interest in the Wolves when Taylor wanted to sell. Kaplan was a minority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies and that became an issue in his attempt to get a portion of the Wolves.
The Wolves have made the playoffs only once since the 2004-05 season and currently have the worst record in the NBA at 13-40.