The saga of the sale of the Minnesota Timberwolves is finally coming to an end. After a long, drawn out process, it appears that former MLB star Alex Rodriguez and billionaire Marc Lore will be the team's new owners, according to a statement they released on Saturday.
Rodriguez and Lore's full statement:
We look forward to entering this phase of the process with Glen Taylor. Our respect for him and the legacy he built lays an amazing foundation for what is to come. We are excited by the prospect of getting to know the Timberwolves organization, the talented team, and their incredible fans.
The duo has signed a letter of intent which will give them exclusive negotiating rights for the next 30 days. During that time, they're expected to finalize a deal with current owner Glen Taylor that will see them first become minority owners. Then, in 2023, Rodriguez and Lore will assume full control of the team, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. The deal would also include the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA, per Chris Hine of the Star Tribune.
While there are still some details to sort out, Krawczynski added that the two sides have agreed upon two major items: price and location. Rodriguez and Lore will pay $1.5 billion for the franchise, and they have agreed to keep both teams in Minneapolis. That was a requirement from Taylor when he agreed to sell, and it will be included in writing as part of the deal, per Hine.
Fans in Minneapolis will surely breathe a sigh of relief at that news. Any time a small market team gets sold there's always going to be some anxiety about its future, and that would have been especially true this time around given Rodriguez's ties to Seattle, and that city's desperation for a franchise. But the Wolves and Lynx won't be going anywhere.
Taylor has sporadically put his teams on the market over the past few years. There was a somewhat messy situation with Wolves legend Kevin Garnett, who was involved with a group that made inquiries. And back in August, Taylor was in advanced talks with Daniel E. Straus, a former minority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies. Neither of those situations panned out, however, in part due to Taylor's reluctance to actually let go of his beloved teams.
That all changed when he made a personal connection with Rodriguez and Lore, per Krawczynski.
Taylor has always valued personal connections in his business dealings, and this is no different. Lore and Rodriguez share a close bond and want to continue the family-type atmosphere that Taylor has always valued, and the intimate conversations that were shared this week helped the Taylors to feel comfortable in pushing this process forward.
It has been a tumultuous year for the Timberwolves, who fired head coach Ryan Saunders in February, and currently have the worst record in the league at 13-40. There are some reasons to be excited about the future, though, including star center Karl-Anthony Towns and exciting rookie guards D'Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards. Now, you can add a powerful new ownership group to that list.