NBA rumors: Timberwolves staying in Minnesota after sale

More on Minnesota Timberwolves Sale?

Chris Hine: Just got off the phone with Glen Taylor. He said this deal with A-Rod and Lore happened very quickly, within the last few days. He thought all their personalities meshed and he felt good about doing a deal with them, brings him peace of mind and allows him to still be around.
Shams Charania: Alex Rodriguez and partner Marc Lore are nearing minority stakes with the Minnesota Timberwolves, with plan to take control of the franchise in two years under mentorship of Glen Taylor. Statement from A-Rod and Lore:

https://twitter.com/ShamsCharania/status/1381018036619128845
Chris Mannix: Glen Taylor has insisted that whoever buys the Timberwolves has to commit to keeping the team in Minneapolis. And the 'Wolves have a long term lease at the Target Center. Still -- will be plenty of questions about ex-Mariner A-Rod's interest in taking the team to Seattle.
Christopher Hine: The agreement does include the Lynx, according to team spokesperson.
Chris Hine: A team spokesperson confirms this news that A-Rod and Marc Lore have entered an exclusive letter of intent to purchase the Timberwolves. it would initially entail a limited partnership with a "pathway" to controlling ownership of the organization.
After Garnett posted on Instagram that he “just got the news that this process of trying to acquire the TWolves is over for me n my group,” Taylor said that neither he nor his representatives ever received any kind of offer from Garnett. “Kevin never contacted me at all saying that he was interested,” Taylor said in a phone call with The Athletic. “Nor was his name listed on any of the buying groups that asked for financial information to review.”
After Kevin Garnett posted on Instagram that he “just got the news that this process of trying to acquire the TWolves is over for me n my group,” Glen Taylor said that neither he nor his representatives ever received any kind of offer from Garnett. “Kevin never contacted me at all saying that he was interested,” Taylor said in a phone call with The Athletic. “Nor was his name listed on any of the buying groups that asked for financial information to review.”
Jon Krawczynski: Appears that KG has officially come to terms with not being involved in a sale of the Wolves. Short on details here so it is unclear if it was a money issue or if other things got in the way.

https://twitter.com/JonKrawczynski/status/1367585663676252168
Sources said Glen Taylor, billionaire owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves, went to the NBA a few months ago with a pitch to sell to Arctos, a private-equity firm formed in 2019, to buy small stakes in teams. But the idea was shot down because Arctos had not been approved by the NBA, sources said. Arctos also recently filed to raise money via a blank-check company that will be used to buy stakes in basketball or baseball teams that need capital to cover losses. This is happening even though neither the NBA nor MLB has approved the controversial idea.
For most of a year, Taylor has explored a sale of the Wolves and Lynx. How’s that coming? “Well, it’s not coming is the best way to say it,” Taylor said. “I haven’t found anything that for sure says I should move ahead.” Taylor’s price tag for the Wolves and Lynx is estimated to be in the $1.5 billion range. With NBA expansion — Las Vegas and Seattle have been mentioned — current team owners could each be in for a reported $160 million expansion fee windfall. “Obviously I’m aware of that — you’ve got to pick your time,” Taylor said, adding that no definite decision for expansion has been made. “The other question: Is now a good time to sell when you don’t have fans? And it’s not a good time.”
If Afflalo’s group emerges as winners in the process, there would be a desire to become pillars in the Twin Cities community, sources said. The group has observed from afar as CEO Ethan Casson, Rosas, Saunders and the rest of the organization has thrust itself into community engagement following the death of George Floyd, which sparked riots across the country and put law enforcement relations with people of color under the microscope. The group includes several people of color who have an interest in the franchise playing a role in the discussion, sources said.
Another question for any transfer of power would center on the futures of Rosas, Saunders, Casson and the rest of the Wolves leadership group. Sources say Afflalo’s group, much like Straus, believes strongly in the leadership core and would not look to make any major changes at the top of basketball or business operations. But no deal, with either group, is imminent.
Haslam, whom Forbes says is worth about $2.9 billion, is one of several people eyeing a purchase of the Timberwolves, the people said, adding that Straus was still in talks to acquire the team. Haslam is the chief executive officer of truck stop company Pilot Flying J, which was founded by his father in 1958. A former investor in the Pittsburgh Steelers, Haslam and his wife, Dee, acquired control of the Browns in 2012. Dee Haslam is chair of the Haslam Sports Group.
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor recently entered into an exclusivity agreement with former Grizzlies minority owner Daniel E. Straus to sell the Wolves and Lynx, according to reports from the Athletic and KSTP. That exclusivity agreement expired last week, but the Athletic reported the sides are engaged in advanced talks.
But a source told the Star Tribune that while Taylor and Straus are engaged in talks, a sale is not imminent. Information and paperwork needs to be exchanged before either side makes a decision on a deal, the source added.
As Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor’s search for a successor reaches its second month, one group’s interest has stood out above the rest. An investment group led by former Memphis Grizzlies minority owner Daniel E. Straus is in advanced discussions to buy the Timberwolves and Lynx from Taylor, sources told The Athletic. The sides still have issues to resolve before any full agreement can be completed, sources said.
The Timberwolves’ availability was first reported on July 21, which is roughly the time that the Straus Group entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement with Taylor. Representatives from the Straus Group visited the Twin Cities two weeks ago for official meetings, toured the team facilities and reviewed financials as part of their due diligence. The sides had entered an exclusivity agreement that formally expired last week, and both parties have continued discussions about a deal, sources said. Those sources added that Straus would keep the Timberwolves in Minneapolis, as Taylor has mandated for his sale.
In an exclusive interview with Sports Headliners, Timberwolves and Lynx owner Glen Taylor said it’s not definite he will sell the franchises. Reports earlier this summer had the 79-year-old Mankato billionaire pursuing a sale of his longtime franchises for $1.2 billon. When asked whether he anticipated a sale soon or not happening for an extended period, he said: “I don’t really know the answer to that right now. We have opened it up to see if people would be interested. At this point we’re trying to see what value would they put on it, and we haven’t finished that. We’re just getting that information together. …We have some people that said they are interested.”
Although not likely, Taylor said it’s possible a sale of the NBA Timberwolves would not include the WNBA Lynx. Presently, one company runs the two franchises, with some employees working for both the Wolves and Lynx. “So that’s the most logical way (of selling),” Taylor said. “If we find a buyer I guess we’ll just have to sit down with that buyer and see what their interest is. I am open to almost anything.”
In 1999 the upstart WNBA was bleeding money as it pioneered opportunities for women on the court and in other basketball positions. Taylor, a socially conscious entrepreneur, became owner of the Lynx expansion franchise and the team joined the Wolves in playing at Target Center. “It isn’t like I thought about it (a lot),” Taylor said. “It just seemed like the right thing to do (women’s pro basketball). “I am more concerned why more (NBA owners)…why they don’t do it. There is nothing wrong with taking some of the money you’ve made on the NBA…putting some of it back into the WNBA. It isn’t going to make anybody broke, or anything like that.”
For a franchise that has dealt with incredible ups and downs, this offseason has been one of a kind, and that includes the news that Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune, is heavily considering selling the team. Rosas said he has no doubts Taylor will find the right buyer. “To be fair, you have to understand Glen’s tenure and the stage that he is at in his personal life and in his family life,” Rosas said. “We all know this is part of the business. Glen has been unbelievable to me, to my family and to this organization during his time of ownership. But it’s not realistic to think that he’s going to be the owner forever. He has been very great, very supportive, very transparent through this process. I was aware and I knew this was something that he was working on. I know he’s doing everything he can to make sure that this organization moves forward and that we have the right ownership and the resources to be successful moving forward.”
The question becomes, what can Taylor do to make sure that happens? He has always been big on handshake agreements and the strength of a person’s word. But in a deal that league observers expect to soar past $1 billion and will chart the course for the franchise for years to come, the stakes are too big. The Wolves will likely look to include steep financial penalties for moving the team in any purchase agreement, sources told The Athletic. Exactly what that would look like, or how it would be enforced, will be determined through negotiation. As the process picks up — league sources say the Timberwolves have been inundated with interest since things became public last week — there are many factors to consider when examining the franchise’s long-term health in the Twin Cities. The tales of two other cities are worth examining as well.
As difficult as things have been with the Timberwolves of late, including just one playoff appearance since 2004 and home attendance that has plummeted near the bottom of the league, one league executive didn’t see the situation in a top 15 media market to be as dire as the one the Bucks faced. “For Milwaukee, the perfect storm to move was hitting,” the source said. “That storm is not hitting Minnesota right now. You’ve got 15 years on that lease. Minnesota’s a big market. I don’t see that same worry that people in Minnesota should have that people in Milwaukee had.”
The Athletic reached out to a handful of sources at the ownership level to gauge the appetite for addressing the Seattle market, and the return was split. While most viewed the market as teeming with possibility and deserving of an NBA team, the path to getting there was not as unanimous. Several sources said a preference would be to put an expansion team in Seattle, which would presumably bring a much larger startup fee than a team would be charged to relocate. But others have insisted that expansion has not really come up in league discussions, pointing to commissioner Adam Silver’s tepid public responses and a preference to table the issue until the next television rights deal is negotiated in 2025.
Orbach’s group would likely be committed to Minneapolis given his investment around Target Center and his brief history of coming to games here. Former Timberwolf Kevin Garnett has publicly stated that he wants to buy the team and keep it right where it is and The Associated Press reported that a group fronted by former NBA player Arron Afflalo would keep the team in Minnesota as well. There are at least five other legitimate bidders, sources said, which plays into Taylor’s hands. No matter the current state of an NBA franchise, there are only 30 of them in the world. The scarcity, and the status that comes from owning one, is intoxicating. If a group wants to get the upper hand on its competitors, agreeing to stronger legal frameworks to keep the team in Minnesota could be a way to do that.
The question becomes, what can Taylor do to make sure that happens? He has always been big on handshake agreements and the strength of a person’s word. But in a deal that league observers expect to soar past $1 billion and will chart the course for the franchise for years to come, the stakes are too big. The Wolves will likely look to include steep financial penalties for moving the team in any purchase agreement, sources told The Athletic. Exactly what that would look like, or how it would be enforced, will be determined through negotiation. As the process picks up — league sources say the Timberwolves have been inundated with interest since things became public last week — there are many factors to consider when examining the franchise’s long-term health in the Twin Cities. The tales of two other cities are worth examining as well.
As difficult as things have been with the Timberwolves of late, including just one playoff appearance since 2004 and home attendance that has plummeted near the bottom of the league, one league executive didn’t see the situation in a top 15 media market to be as dire as the one the Bucks faced. “For Milwaukee, the perfect storm to move was hitting,” the source said. “That storm is not hitting Minnesota right now. You’ve got 15 years on that lease. Minnesota’s a big market. I don’t see that same worry that people in Minnesota should have that people in Milwaukee had.”
The Athletic reached out to a handful of sources at the ownership level to gauge the appetite for addressing the Seattle market, and the return was split. While most viewed the market as teeming with possibility and deserving of an NBA team, the path to getting there was not as unanimous. Several sources said a preference would be to put an expansion team in Seattle, which would presumably bring a much larger startup fee than a team would be charged to relocate. But others have insisted that expansion has not really come up in league discussions, pointing to commissioner Adam Silver’s tepid public responses and a preference to table the issue until the next television rights deal is negotiated in 2025.
Orbach’s group would likely be committed to Minneapolis given his investment around Target Center and his brief history of coming to games here. Former Timberwolf Kevin Garnett has publicly stated that he wants to buy the team and keep it right where it is and The Associated Press reported that a group fronted by former NBA player Arron Afflalo would keep the team in Minnesota as well. There are at least five other legitimate bidders, sources said, which plays into Taylor’s hands. No matter the current state of an NBA franchise, there are only 30 of them in the world. The scarcity, and the status that comes from owning one, is intoxicating. If a group wants to get the upper hand on its competitors, agreeing to stronger legal frameworks to keep the team in Minnesota could be a way to do that.
In 2016, Taylor Corporation and the city of Minneapolis signed a second amendment to the original agreement they made when Taylor took the team over in 1995. That amendment, signed in light of renovations both parties contributed toward for Target Center, said the Wolves would agree to play there through the 2034-35 season.
The Straus Group, the family office of Daniel E. Straus, is exploring a purchase of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves from billionaire owner Glen A. Taylor, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The firm is one of multiple suitors for the basketball franchise, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. It couldn’t immediately be learned if the group was working alone or as part of a consortium.
The Star Tribune spoke to a number of lawyers and the consensus was that doing so doesn’t seem as simple as baking it into a contract and tying the new owners to Minneapolis permanently. A deal likely would have to have parameters about how long such an agreement, or covenant, would last, and any financial penalty for breaking that covenant couldn’t be overly severe. The league has not responded to Star Tribune requests for comment regarding the sale of the Wolves. “You could have some contingencies … and I’m sure there could be a provision that relates to keeping the team in place,” said Eldon Ham, an author and professor of sports law at Chicago-Kent College of Law. “But I don’t think it would be able to extend forever.”
At the crux of any guarantee to keep the Wolves in Minnesota would be how long that guarantee would last or how harsh the financial penalty would be for breaking it. Ham said any kind of agreement that makes outlandish demands, like a 30-year promise to keep the team in Minnesota, might not make it past league approval, which requires a $1 million fee just to apply, he said. “The league itself has to approve all this,” Ham said. “So if you have a ridiculous contract, they’re just going to tell you: ‘We’re not approving this stuff.’ “If there’s something in there that says the applicant shall not apply to remove the team from the city or the state or whatever for a year or something like that, you might try to get that to fly. I don’t see anything in the bylaws that says you couldn’t have that in the contract, but the NBA itself might say, ‘We don’t like it.’ ”
An ownership group led by longtime NBA player Arron Afflalo is putting together an offer to buy the Minnesota Timberwolves, two people with knowledge of the bid said. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Friday because the deal was still in the process of being submitted. The group will consist of two to five individuals with a net worth of more than $10 billion. According to the people, Afflalo's group will submit the bid no later than this weekend.
The people familiar with Afflalo's group said the team won't be relocated. The 34-year-old Afflalo would be the face of the group, with venture capitalist Brock Berglund spearheading the financing. The only Black primary owner in the NBA now is Michael Jordan in Charlotte. It's a diverse group seeking to place minorities in positions of power and uplift the community in the wake of the death of George Floyd, the handcuffed Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck for nearly 8 minutes.
The Wilf family that owns the Minnesota Vikings has emerged as a serious candidate to buy the Minnesota Timberwolves, NFL sources told ESPN. Only recently did the Wilfs emerge as one of the groups bidding to buy the NBA team in their city from billionaire Glen Taylor, sources said. There are several bidders for the team, including metropolitan New York real estate developer Meyer Orbach, who bought a minority stake in the Timberwolves in 2016. Former Timberwolves standout Kevin Garnett also said he is forming a group to try to purchase the team.
But the Wilfs appear to be in a prime spot at this time to buy the Timberwolves, though a decision on the sale might not be made until September, sources said. Taylor has owned the team since 1994, when he bought it for about $88 million. He has retained The Raine Group to sell the franchise. He is seeking at least $1.2 billion for the team that has been valued at close to $1.4 billion.
Darren Wolfson: I talked to Glen for 15ish minutes earlier this hour. We'll have a sound byte on @KSTP at 6:55. He did mention some groups talking to him about remaining on, thus he can help protect his guys in the organization. Will post full chat when editing computer frees up. #Timberwolves
Kevin Garnett: My passion for the Minnesota Timberwolves to be a championship team is well known but I have a deeper affection for the city of Minneapolis. I once again want to see Minneapolis as the diverse and loving community that I know it is. No two people love the city more than myself and Glen Taylor and I look forward to trying to work with him to achieve my dream.
Shams Charania: For Garnett, this bid is personal because of his stature within the franchise. Garnett wants to purchase the team and keep it in Minnesota, sources said. Glen Taylor told @JonKrawczynski that keeping the franchise in Minny is a requirement.
Jon Krawczynski: Glen Taylor says he thinks the Timberwolves and Lynx will remain under one house should a sale happen. "The way I run it, it's all one thing. I would assume we would want to keep it that way and make it more efficient."

https://twitter.com/ChristopherHine/status/1285684324591964165
The Minnesota Timberwolves are for sale. Billionaire owner Glen Taylor has retained The Raine Group to sell the franchise he’s owned since 1995, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter. There are several parties who have bid on the team, two of the people said. A deal could be completed within a month, one of the people said.
Taylor, who bought the team for about $88 million, didn’t want a public auction and instead opted to ask Raine to find a buyer without the usual fanfare that accompanies a franchise sale, said the people, who were granted anonymity because the matter is private. The sale isn’t related to financial hardship created by the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the people said.
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September 27, 2021 | 12:09 pm EDT Update