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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Report: Michael Bloomberg Joins A-Rod, Lore Timberwolves Ownership Group

  • A dispute with longtime owner Glen Taylor is now in arbitration, which could last all summer.
  • The Timberwolves are coming off their best season in 20 years.
Jan 11, 2020; Austin, TX, USA; Mike Bloomberg kicks off his presidential campaign in Austin on Saturday, January 11, 2020.
Lola Gomez/American-Statesman via USA TODAY NETWORK

The battle for ownership of the Timberwolves has a new player in the mix: former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. 

According to The New York Times, Bloomberg has joined Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore’s ownership team, which is heading to arbitration this summer with longtime owner Glen Taylor after Taylor called off their agreement in March. 

Bloomberg is one of the richest people on Earth, worth roughly $106 billion according to Forbes, and would be a major investor to the duo, who currently owns roughly 40% of the Timberwolves and the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx. 

Rodriguez and Lore entered a multiyear agreement with Taylor to buy the team at a $1.5 billion valuation in phases, which came in 2021 and ’23. But in late March, Taylor said the team was no longer for sale after Rodriguez and Lore allegedly lacked the capital to buy 40% of the team for $600 million. Rodriguez and Lore have said they had the money and deserved a 90-day extension, per the terms of their agreement, and have accused Taylor of having buyer’s remorse due to the low valuation he sold at compared to recent team sales. 

Commissioner Adam Silver said the NBA has no role in the process, and the two sides went to mediation in early May, which failed to produce a solution, hence the move to arbitration. The arbitration process could take months, which leaves questions hanging over the team and its expensive payroll, which Taylor has historically avoided during his 30 years of ownership. Part of Taylor’s reasoning for calling off the deal: He claimed Rodriguez and Lore plan to slash payroll when they take control of the team, which he thinks could hurt the team’s ability to contend. The Timberwolves are coming off their best season in 20 years after making just their second Western Conference finals appearance in franchise history before falling to the Mavericks in five games. 

Should the deal go through in Rodriguez, Lore, and Bloomberg’s favor, they would own 80% of the team while buying out Taylor’s minority stakeholders. Taylor would be left with a 20% stake in the team, which the duo could buy from him for $300 million any time before March 2025. 

Bloomberg’s money would allow the newly formed trio to buy out Taylor earlier than that deadline, if the arbitration ruling goes their way, the Times reported. 

The Timberwolves aren’t Bloomberg’s first investment in sports this year, as he is part of the new ownership group that recently bought the Baltimore Orioles. According to the Times, Bloomberg’s money accounts for only a portion of the $300 million to oust Taylor. The rest is from Rodriguez and Lore’s current ownership group. Should they win in arbitration, they would still need to be approved by the league’s board of governors before officially joining the NBA’s ownership ranks. 

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