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T-Wolves hit the market; no move allowed

Target Center

Glen Taylor is selling the Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA) and is already attracting some interest, even though the sale comes with one big condition: the buyer cannot move the team. Sorry, Seattle.

Taylor, the Minnesota businessman who also owns the Star Tribune, saved the team once from a potential move when he bought the team for $88 million in 1994 from original owners Marv Wolfenson and Harvey Ratner. The sale of the team is expected to exceed $1 billion today, which is pretty much the baseline for any NBA team sale in today’s market.

Already expressing interest in a very public manner: former T-Wolves star Kevin Garnett, who is already openly lobbying for a purchase and has reportedly working on assembling a group to finance a deal. While Taylor and Garnett have enjoyed a sometimes-contentious relationship (as recently as April Garnett called Taylor a “snake”), Garnett says he would be willing to work with Taylor on the team’s operations, assuming the 79-year-old owner wants to continue in some manner. And while Garnett signed some pretty large contracts during his playing days, he unlikely does not have what would pass for NBA ownership money, requiring partners with much deeper partners to be involved. Another group that reportedly has expressed interest: the Wilf family, owners of the Minnesota Vikings.

Also potentially part of a Minnesota Timberwolves sale: the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, one of that circuit’s success stories both on and off the court.

Taylor’s stipulation that the team stay in Minnesota probably limits the number of potential buyers, as there’s no way to include groups from the likes of Seattle or Louisville in order to drive up the asking price. But don’t assume that Taylor will rush into any deal: He was approached by the Raine Group when a potential buyer first expressed interest, but when that buyer dropped out, Taylor decided to engage Raine Group on testing the waters on a sale. An issue will be how a new owner could unlock some value in the team that’s undergoing a total rebuild: the Timberwolves were dead last in the NBA in 2019-2020 attendance at 15,066 fans per game, so one strategy would be to let President of Baseball Operations Gersson Rosas continue his work on roster changes and hope that improvements on the court will lead to improvements at the gate.

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