Glen Taylor Voiding Timberwolves’ Sale No Surprise to Adam Silver or NBA

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Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA)

The Minnesota Timberwolves are in the midst of their best season in 20 years, getting out-of-this-world highlights from Anthony Edwards, a top rated defense anchored by soon to be 4X DPOY Rudy Gobert, and career years from guys like Jordan McLaughlin, Naz Reid, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker.

On Tuesday night, the Wolves officially reached the second-highest win total in franchise history (52-23), with a 113-106 win over the Houston Rockets. Seven games remain in the 2023-24 regular season and this team looks like one that’s destined to win its first playoff series since 2004, when Kevin Garnett, Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell reached the Western Conference Finals.

While the on-court product has been better than possibly ever before, there have been some pressing matters taking place behind the scenes. Not at the player, coaching staff or even front office level. The distractions happening at Mayo Clinic Square and Target Center recently are taking place all the way at the top of the organizational totem pole.

Minnesota Timberwolves have ownership issues

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Photo: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Timberwolves are supposed to be in the middle of an ownership change. billionaire Marc Lore and former New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez have bought 36% of the Minnesota Timberwolves (and Lynx) organization from longtime majority owner, Glen Taylor.

The new ownership group was scheduled to purchase 40% more (for $600 million) on March 27, a payment that would have handed majority ownership (and all of the power/responsibilities that comes with owning an NBA franchise) over to Marc Lore and (to a lesser degree) Alex Rodriguez.

The new ownership group, which includes Lore (majority) and A-Rod, along with a former Google big shot and reputable investment firm (Dyal Capital) reportedly submitted all of its paperwork to the NBA prior to that date.

Related: Those in the Know Do Not Believe A-Rod and Marc Lore End Up with Timberwolves

But on March 28, Taylor dropped what Lore described as “a nuclear bomb” on the basketball world by announcing that he was voiding the purchase agreement he had with the Lore/A-Rod group and no longer allowing them to purchase the majority stake in the organization. In other words, Glen announced that the Timberwolves and Lynx were no longer for sale.

Marc Lore, Alex Rodriguez fire back

On Friday, Lore and A-Rod went on the offensive. They sat down with Dane Moore, which is where the “nuclear bomb” comment was dropped (pun intended). They acted with shock and outrage that their business partner would double-dross them like this. Lore described his feelings as being “hurt” multiple times.

But from there, they went on an all out media blitz against Taylor, targeting the fan base’s distaste for the team’s owner of 30 years. They did interviews with the Star Tribune (owned by Glen Taylor), The Athletic, Darren Wolfson (KSTP, SKOR North).

During the blitz, Lore and A-Rod took the gloves off. They called Taylor “short sighted” and described his motivations as a case of “seller’s remorse”, citing the Timberwolves NET worth doubling in size, since the purchase agreement (for $1.5 billion) was first signed.

NBA knew about Glen Taylor’s ‘nuclear bomb before it was dropped

While Lore and Rodriguez have made it clear that Taylor’s announcement was a surprise to them, the league was not caught off guard… at all. Here’s what NBA insider Brian Windhorst wrote at ESPN yesterday.

Taylor has been the owner since 1994, is a former chairman of the NBA board of governors and has a long relationship with commissioner Adam Silver. The league office has been aware of and consulted on the details regarding the situation. It has not taken a public stance, but unlike Lore and Rodriguez, who compared Taylor’s voiding of the sales process to a nuclear bomb in interviews, the league was not taken by surprise, sources said.

Brian Windhorst – ESPN

If the league was in on Taylor’s move, or even consulted… and Taylor still pulled the trigger, that can’t be good for A-Rod and Marc Lore, especially if they really were caught off-guard, like they describe. We know for sure, at the least, that Adam Silver and the NBA offices were made aware of Glen’s plans to void the final tranche of the purchase agreement.

While the Lore/A-Rod group has remained adamant that their contract with Taylor is “ironclad”, there is one excerpt that stood out from their interview with Dane Moore. When asked about whether or not they had been in touch with the NBA offices at all, Lore confirmed they had not yet spoken with the NBA.

He made some excuse about not wanting to make this a bigger deal than it needs to be… but come on. This was Friday, a full 24 hours after Taylor made the announcement

“We are taking advice from Wachtell on exactly how to approach this. The league is in a tough situation, they’ve never had this type of situation before. Normally the buyer and seller bring it to the league and present the deal, and then it goes for approval. But if you’ve got one owner saying I don’t want to sell them team, and the buyer says no you’re in breach, it puts them in a difficult situation…we don’t want to cause problems for the NBA…we just want our legal rights to be enforced.”

Marc Lore – Dane Moore Podcast

If you are that adamant about your legal rights being enforced, why wouldn’t you make it the biggest issue you can and make it known as much as possible that you are in not in the wrong, especially to the group of people that hold the final say in the whole matter?

As mentioned by Windhorst, Glen Taylor has a long relationship with current NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Hell, he’s a former chairman of the board of governors. Taylor might seem like a senile old man, but he is a ruthless businessman.

Legal battles for Glen Taylor are as regular as your great grandma’s trip to church on Sundays. Lore told Dane Moore that he’s never sued or been sued by anyone. Umm, welcome to the big leagues, I guess. Glen probably ate a lawsuit last night for dessert, just to wash down Becky’s latest batch of lasagna.

As Windhorst also notes, Glen Taylor picks his battles well and his track record in coming out victorious at all costs is nearly spotless. It’s highly unlikely vetoes this sale, especially after talks with Adam Silver, if he doesn’t think he’s going to win.

Taylor is a veteran of lawsuits and complex mergers and acquisitions (his Taylor Corporation once had over 80 subsidiaries) and has a legal team with a record of success.

In 2021, Taylor was hit with a lawsuit by a different aggrieved limited partner, Meyer Orbach, who claimed Taylor violated their contract because Orbach wasn’t given the opportunity to sell his shares of the team (17%) before the completion of the sale to Lore/Rodriguez. It was quickly tossed from federal court because the written agreement between the two protected Taylor. The sales agreement between Taylor and Lore/Rodriguez runs approximately 50 pages and has numerous protections for Taylor, sources told ESPN, and Taylor’s side believes it’s on firm legal ground.

Brian Windhorst – ESPN
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