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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Planned T-Wolves, Lynx Sale Turns Bitter As Teams Pulled Off Market

  • The current majority owner claims that Rodriguez and Lore failed to meet the latest deadline.
  • The NBA team is in the midst of a significant revival both on and off the court.
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

One of the more complex team sales in recent sports history is now turning combative as Timberwolves and Lynx owner Glen Taylor (above, left) abruptly called off Thursday a planned transfer of controlling interest in the teams to Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore, prompting a sharp rebuke from the prospective buyers that suggests the matter could be headed to litigation. 

Taylor, who has owned a majority stake in the Timberwolves since 1994, plus the Lynx since its ’99 debut, took the teams off the market after claiming Rodriguez and Lore failed to meet a Wednesday deadline to buy a 40% equity stake in the teams, adding to a separate 40% the former MLB star and his business partner already own. The 82-year-old Taylor added that “under certain circumstances, the buyer[s] could have been entitled to a limited extension. However, those circumstances did not occur.”

Rodriguez and Lore quickly responded, accusing Taylor of “seller’s remorse.”

“We have fulfilled our obligations, have all the necessary funding, and are fully committed to closing our purchase of the team as soon as the NBA completes its approval process,” the pair said, adding that Taylor’s statement is “short-sighted and disruptive to the team and the fans during a historic winning season.”

The Timberwolves, currently just a half game off the best record in the Western Conference, are enjoying their best season since 2004, in which they reached the conference finals. That on-court success has fueled a surge in team attendance and local television ratings. 

The NBA has yet to comment on the matter, specifically whether there is still an active approval process in this deal. Before this latest episode, multiple reports suggested there has been a deteriorating relationship between Taylor and the pair. 

Long Road 

Rodriguez, who has long sought to be a majority pro team owner, and Lore have been working on this deal since 2021. And given continually escalating team values, the $1.5 billion price set at the deal’s inception now represents a significant bargain. The Timberwolves are estimated to be now worth $2.5 billion, with more growth widely anticipated once the next set of national TV deals are completed. Values of every WNBA team, meanwhile, are soaring given that league’s rapid rise, and the Seattle Storm were valued last year at $151 million in a minority stake sale of that franchise. 

Most recently, there were concerns about Rodriguez and Lore being able to secure the needed financing to acquire this third tranche of equity. Just last week, those worries appeared to be fading; it was strongly expected the pair would complete the deal and become the teams’ new controlling owners. For now, Rodriguez and Lore will remain minority team owners with the equity they already have. 

With Taylor offering a very different accounting of events than Rodriguez and Lore, the saga appears far from over.

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