Update 5.3.13: The Wolves have made it official that Flip Saunders is taking over a minority ownership role and the team is off the market.
Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has been looking for a plan to sell to a new owner who will look out for his franchise and keep the organization in Minnesota. His plan has been to find a minority owner who would eventually be able to purchase a majority stake in the team and assure that the team doesn't relocate outside of the city.
However, Taylor hasn't been comfortable with the majority of the potential partners who have expressed interest in joining him in such a business venture. Instead of continuing to search for this future owner of the Wolves, he's reportedly taking the team off the market and selling just a small chunk of it to incoming president of basketball operations Flip Saunders.
Flip Saunders has officially signed a multi-year deal to become pres. of basketball ops with an ownership stake in Timberwolves”.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) May 3, 2013
According to sources, Wolves owner Glen Taylor has decided to take the team off the market and will not sell it.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) May 3, 2013
This is pretty big news for the Wolves and the city of Minneapolis because if Taylor isn't forcing a sale to a new minority owner in hopes of findng an exit strategy, it probably means he doesn't believe any of the available options are viable and is intent on keeping the team where it is. With the team improving the roster and negotiating plans to renovate the current Target Center where the Wolves play, they're at the third most important fork in the road in franchise history. (The first was when they decided to trade Stephon Marbury; the second was when they decided to trade Kevin Garnett in 2007).
To not have stable ownership in place during this time could be extremely detrimental to the process. The Wolves haven't always been a great franchise in terms of success (understatement), but Taylor has often been willing to spend money when the team needed to do it to be a playoff contender. For years, the Wolves were near the top in league salary, and it wasn't until the rebuilding process began after Kevin Garnett was traded away that Taylor started cutting costs with the roster.
Flip Saunders has a busy offseason to handle during his return to the organization. Nikola Pekovic is a restricted free agent, Andrei Kirilenko may opt out of his two-year deal, Chase Budinger is an unrestricted free agent, and the team will likely have a top-10 pick in the NBA draft. And the team still doesn't know if Rick Adelman will step down to help his ailing wife.