Glen Taylor Reportedly Spooked by A-Rod & Lore’s Plan to Cut Timberwolves Player Payroll

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Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves are nearing the end of one of the best regular seasons in franchise history and, on the floor, their future has never looked brighter than it does right now. Off the floor, however, that’s not the case.

Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore (mostly the ladder) have purchased a rather large chunk of Wolves minority stock (36%) over the last few years, and had plans to be majority stakeholders by now. But delays in the process, combined with some seller’s remorse, led to longtime majority owner, Glen Taylor, voiding the last tranche of the purchase agreement.

In response, Lore and A-Rod are threatening legal action and claim they’ll still wind up as majority owners of the franchise, when the dust settles. In other words, we are at the “he said, they said” phase of what’s expected to become a major legal battle over billions of dollars.

A-Rod, Lore reportedly planned to cut Minnesota Timberwolves player payroll

alex rodriguez glen taylor
Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

That brings us to Wednesday. Shortly after an NBA board of governors meeting today, where Adam Silver told media members that the league will not be getting involved in the Timberwolves’ ownership battle, Adrian Wojnarowski (ESPN) dropped a very timely report claiming Glen Taylor was spooked by recently submitted financial paperwork, from Lore and A-Rod, that revealed their plan to cut player payroll significantly next season, once they became final decisionmakers.

In documents shared with Taylor, the NBA and The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, Lore and Rodriguez rendered a budget projection as potential majority owners that would’ve lowered the Timberwolves’ payroll to $171 million beginning next season — below the projected $172 million luxury tax threshold, sources told ESPN. The Timberwolves would’ve gone from approximately a $25 million-plus tax payment to a team receiving a tax distribution of approximately $6.5 million.

Minnesota is on course to have the league’s fourth-highest payroll of $198 million for the 2024-25 season — including three maximum contract players — and it’s difficult to map out a roster with that deep of a cut without trading one of the franchise’s key players.

Adrian Wojnarowski – ESPN

What does this mean?

Now, I’m not an NBA contract or salary cap expert… but assuming this report is true (it’s Woj so we have no reason not to) and Timberwolves new ownership was planning to cut the roster budget below the luxury tax line, it seems clear that Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez were planning to trade Karl-Anthony Towns this offseason.

Related: Woj Names Two Likely Timberwolves Trade Candidates if Lore & A-Rod Buy Team

KAT is set to become a “super max” player in 2024-25, a salary designation that will cost the Timberwolves (and whoever their majority owner is) $50 million, and rising year-over-year. Personally, I do not believe that trading Towns is a bad business move.

Want more honesty? I’m not sold on it being a bad basketball move either, given the existence of Naz Reid. Of course, not all fans feel the same way, regarding Karl-Anthony Towns. My point, however, is that trading Karl (or planning to trade him) doesn’t necessarily prove that the new ownership group didn’t have enough money to operate the organization, even if that reality is very possible.

In fact, most NBA owners do not let their organizations go near a $25+ million tax payment. For example, Woj’s article states that Taylor has paid $25 million in total luxury tax payments, over the entire 30 years he’s owned the team.

Their payroll will place them $27 million over the luxury tax and would exceed the second apron once free agency begins in July. As owner, Taylor has paid the luxury tax in four different seasons, including most recently in 2019-20. He has paid a total of $25 million in luxury tax in his span as owner.

Adrian Wojnarowski – ESPN

Related: Minnesota Timberwolves Contracts and Salary Cap

Does that mean this information was a plant by Glen? Woj writes that both the A-Rod/Lore group and Glen Taylor declined comment for his article. Given the board of governors met today (a meeting I’m sure Woj was at), it could have been other owners or executives who scooped the legendary NBA insider.

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