Glen Taylor, who owns the Minnesota Timberwolves, Lynx, Iowa Wolves and the Star Tribune Newspaper, didn’t fight his way to the top of Billionaire Point by being a nice guy. Don’t let that little old man’s public demeanor fool you. Taylor is a savage and doesn’t care who he has to step on or what relationships he needs to sever. When he sets his eyes on something, he’s going to make it happen.
Ask Kevin Garnett or former Wolves GM and head coach Kevin McHale. Both guys have gone to battle with GT over broken promises and/or bad faith business dealings, either in the court of public opinion or the court of law.
Well yesterday evening, news broke out of ESPN that Taylor was being summoned back into the courtroom (maybe mediation room). This time, for his recently announced sale of the Timberwolves, Lynx and Iowa Wolves to Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore. The “complaint” is being filed by current Wolves minority owner (approximately 17%), Meyer Orbach.
In short, there are two main complaints coming from Orbach:
a) Orbach’s agreement with Taylor allows Orbach to sell his shares of the team BEFORE Glen Taylor sells his. He’s not being allowed that opportunity under the current arrangement between Taylor, A-Rod and Lore. He accuses Glen Taylor of sidestepping the clause by selling the team in two different stages.
b) There is no language in the contract that forces Lore and Rodriguez to keep the team in Minnesota. This is something Taylor has promised publicly on multiple occasions.
Meyer Orbach, the second-largest shareholder in the Minnesota Timberwolves, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis on Wednesday alleging that owner Glen Taylor’s pending sale of the franchise to Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez is in violation of the franchise’s partnership agreement, according to a copy of the complaint obtained by ESPN.
The complaint cites Taylor’s failure to honor the “tag-along rights” for minority investors in the franchise, which allows them to sell their interests in the teams before Taylor sells his own.
The complaint filed by Orbach, a New Jersey real estate mogul who owns more than 17% of the Timberwolves and WNBA Lynx, also includes a significant revelation: Despite Taylor’s public statements to the contrary, he has included no provision in the $1.5 billion sales agreement with Lore and Rodriguez that requires the new ownership group to keep the franchise in Minnesota upon taking control of the team, according to an exhibit in the complaint.Woj – ESPN
Reading through this doozy of a 33 page complaint. Orbach is seeking at least $300,000, 000.00. The #Timberwolves are the ultimate franchise that keeps on giving for those of us who crave storylines. pic.twitter.com/Lrkg9pV7tv— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) May 27, 2021
So the Wolves are good as gone?
Ok, take a deep breath. You can’t be 100% confident about anything in this life but I can promise the Minnesota Timberwolves aren’t leaving Minneapolis anytime in the near future. Not in today’s landscape. And this newest dispute (read the massive filing HERE) isn’t going to effect what’s happening between GT, A-Rod and Lore.
It’s true, the NBA wants teams in Seattle and Las Vegas and it’s going to happen ASAP. But they aren’t interested in moving teams there. Adam Silver and Co will be adding two teams to their current 30-team lineup.
Why? Well, there are billions of reasons and they’re all financial. For a new ownership group to join the NBA, they have to pay into the league an estimated $2 billion. That money gets split between the owners. So, that’s $4 billion if two new teams join the league, just in case you’re keeping track. Those prices are said to be a lot higher than what the league would charge for a current franchise to re-locate from one city to another.
Here’s what Taylor has said publicly on the subject.
Here is a snippet of my chat with #Timberwolves and #Lynx owner Glen Taylor from last week when I asked him about relocation language being in the contract with A Rod and Lore: pic.twitter.com/B1b5KN2kjC— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) May 27, 2021
Here is the specific part of the interview where I ask Glen Taylor about Alex Rodriguez & Mark Lore moving the team.
This is cited in the lawsuit filed by minority-owner Myer Orbach.
Take a listen… pic.twitter.com/9OehoHEsqG— Chad Hartman (@ChadHartmanShow) May 27, 2021
How much would it cost to get out of Minneapolis?
Just getting out of the Target Center lease would START at $50 million. Then you have to pay the league fee. Nobody knows what that would be but, if they’re getting $2 billion for new franchises, I can’t imagine relocating would be cheap. Remember, A-Rod and Lore need to kick out $1.5 billion just to purchase the team from Taylor. And that’s easier said than done, even if you’re rich and famous.
It’s also being reported today by The Athletic, that A-Rod and Lore are forking over just $250 million in their first payment to Glen (which is set to be made in 2021) because that’s all they can currently afford. That’s one of the reasons, among a few others, why this deal is going down in stages.
I know Minnesota sports fans are tragically shell-shocked by decades of losing teams and unfortunate outcomes in just about every fork in our sports reality road. But we need to have a bit more confidence in ourselves when having these conversations. It might not be easy to get NBA players to live in this part of the country but that doesn’t mean the league wants to leave.
The NBA wants Minnesota under their umbrella
Another source with direct knowledge of the Timberwolves, the league dynamics and the Target Center lease said that several other stipulations would have to be met on top of the $50 million fee to trigger an exit, making it more difficult to break that lease than initially perceived.
“Between the lease, the unknown relocation fee (the Board of Governors) would ask for, the general political backlash and the size of the market, the team will stay put,” the source said.Jon Krawczynski – The Athletic
Minneapolis/St. Paul is a top-15 media market and the NBA sees them as a top-15 market for their league. Why would it make business sense to move one of your top-15 markets to an unproven one? Sure, the revenue hasn’t been pumping out from the Twin Cities to NBA league offices for years (or a decade) but that’d be the case for most cities who have dealt with the bad management we’ve dealt with here.
That’s not something the market or fanbase can control there isn’t a professional sports league in the business who expects to rake in money from markets that house loser teams. You know what the NBA would like though? A new ownership group with a revamped front office in a previously mismanaged market that is FOAMING at the mouth for just a whiff of success. And, lucky for them, that’s exactly what the Minnesota Timberwolves could be under A-Rod, Lore and Gersson Rosas.
Out with Target Center
I’m just going to get on the bandwagon early. The only way to totally squash the rumors of a Timberwolves move out of Minnesota is to get the team a new arena to play in. Target Center sucks. It has for awhile and it’s time to stop putting $100 million lipstick projects on that pig.
Let’s knock Target Center out and build the Wolves a new arena. We’ve already proven with Target Field and US Bank Stadium what these beautiful new buildings can do for local economies and fanbases. Hell, US Bank Stadium was getting paid off so quickly that the government has stepped in to start diverting funds to other areas and the native gambling police are pissed off about their cut (or lack there of).
Once these new arena conversations get rolling, it’s just a matter of time before you’re forced onto the bandwagon. So, I’m just going to hop on right now and drive the bitch from day 1.
“Build it and they’ll never leave”.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan