The National Basketball Association’s Minnesota Timberwolves are for sale as current team owner Glen Taylor confirmed he will “entertain opportunities” for the franchise, as well as for the Women’s National Basketball Association’s Minnesota Lynx.
Taylor, 79, is working with global merchant bank The Raine Group on the Timberwolves sale, and several interested entities have already been identified.
“I was recently approached by The Raine Group to discuss the future of our franchise,” Taylor said in a statement. “From the time I bought the team in 1994, I have always wanted what’s best for our fans and will entertain opportunities on the evolution of the Timberwolves and Lynx ownership structure.”
The last NBA team to be sold, the Brooklyn Nets, valued that franchise at $2.35bn. Taylor is said to be seeking at least $1.2bn for the club, which is situated in a comparatively smaller market and plays in a much older, though renovated, building, the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis. A bidding war for the Timberwolves and the NBA’s robust long-term business prospects, even amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, could push that number much higher.
Taylor acquired the team for about $88m.
Former NBA superstar Kevin Garnett, who played his first 12 seasons in Minnesota and won a league Most Valuable Player award in 2004 while a member of the Timberwolves, said he will develop a bid for the team.
Garnett, however, will undoubtedly need additional investors to aid on his bid after earning about $330m in salary during his NBA career. He also has notably feuded with Taylor in the past on a variety of issues, including the death of former coach and president of basketball operations Flip Saunders. But in two-part Twitter post, Garnett sought to move past that.
“My passion for the Minnesota Timberwolves to be a championship team is well known, but I have a deeper affection for the city of Minneapolis,” Garnett tweeted. “I once again want to see Minneapolis as the diverse and loving community that I know it is. No two people love the city more than myself and Glen Taylor and I look forward to trying to work with him to achieve my dream.”
A subsequent Instagram post from Garnett expanded on that theme of reconciliation.
“Regardless of past feelings with Glen….I would love nothing better than to become partners going forward in this great but massive rebuilding of a city that I deeply love! Putting the past to the side, focus on the now,” Garnett said.
Taylor, in part making the move to sell the franchise amid personal estate planning efforts, will mandate as a condition of sale that the Timberwolves stay in Minnesota. He has actively considered selling the team for years, and briefly had it on the block in 2012-2013.
“I just got to start thinking about cleaning this thing up a little bit,” Taylor said to the Star-Tribune, a newspaper in Minneapolis he owns. “The Timberwolves would be a big one to get some direction on what would happen…I’m at a time in life that I should get some of these [businesses] straightened out. Or else, I look at my wife [Becky] and say, ‘I’m going to leave you guys with a big mess.’ ”
ESPN, meanwhile, reported the Wilf family, owners of the crosstown Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League, are a “serious candidate” to buy the Timberwolves. The Vikings have not commented.
The Timberwolves, meanwhile, are also working with Excel Sports Management on efforts to find a new jersey patch sponsor.