Timberwolves

The Positives and Negatives of New Wolves Ownership

Photo Credit: Geoff Burke (USA TODAY Sports)

Well, we didn’t get the ownership group we wanted, but we got a new ownership group nonetheless. After years of botched deals falling through the cracks of the Target Center floor — warped by the remnants of the part-time ice rink underneath — Glen Taylor finally found his match, and in typical Glen fashion, too.

By all accounts, this has been love at first sight, but it resembles more of an adolescent summer fling-puppy love rather than a full-grown Timberwolf love. Nine months after hiring a matchmaker — consulting firm the Raine Group — to arrange a shotgun marriage (fire sale), Glen decided to go around their backs and elope with Jenny from the Block’s ex.

This isn’t the first time Glen has done a backdoor business deal. In 1999, Glen Taylor signed Joe Smith to a one-year, $1.75m deal — well below his market rate. This was because Glen made a verbal promise to re-sign him, once his bird rights were available, to an $86 million deal. Like countless other covenants made during the Taylor regime, this never came to fruition.

The most recent Taylor promise is that Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore won’t move the team, but all they had to do to convince Glen was look him in the eyes. There’s nothing contractually that can be done to keep the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Twin Cities. The best bets for keeping the Wolves put are the two-and-a-half-year transitioning period, ensuring us of at least three more Timberwolves seasons, and the fact that the league wants to grow.

It behooves the league to expand after two years of lost revenue due to the pandemic because expanding brings lump sums of cash for the NBA, likely in the realm of $2-4 billion total for the theoretically proposed two-team expansion. This, and the fact that the Twin Cities are the 13th-largest media market in the NBA (15th overall in the US), is the solace we must take for the next three years.

The fans are here. The problem has been the product for the last 17 years.

Positives
  • No more Glen: See Above.
  • Continuity: Rosas and Finch have a chance to put down roots and make an impression for the next couple of years.
  • Keeping Karl.

This move bodes well for keeping Karl-Anthony Towns on his next max contract in a small, underrated way. Karl and Rodriguez are both children of Dominican immigrants. We know that Karl was close with his mother, and he looked up to A-Rod as a kid. Towns honors his heritage by playing for the Dominican Republic men’s national basketball team. It’s important to him, so I wouldn’t count out this new ownership group affecting Towns’ decision to stay.

Negatives
  • No more Glen: He saved the team from moving to New Orleans in 1994, and obviously, the fear again is that they could be moved.
  • Rodriguez: Get ready for the media magnifying glass. Although maybe this will give us more national broadcasts. Still, it’s A-Rod.
  • Lynx Legacy.

Lore and A-Rod have made the right public relations statements regarding the Timberwolves, but Taylor considers the other franchise in this transaction his crown jewel and legacy. Glen has been steadfast in his support for the Minnesota Lynx, and yet A-Rod failed to mention the dynastic WNBA team in his statement about buying the team on April 21.

In fairness, the Lynx represent about 2% of the purchase price or $.03 billion of the $1.5 billion. But their impact on the Twin Cities community is much closer to equal, and that has to do with the platform created by Taylor, Cheryl Reeve, and management. It will be important to see how Lore and Rodriguez continue the Lynx legacy and whether they can give the Lynx the care and attention necessary to perpetuate their past success.

Our lives as Timberwolves fans have been filled with empty promises both on and off the court, along with massive disappointment. We have no reason to believe Glen Taylor, Marc Lore, or A-Roids. But at least with Lore and A-Rod, we also have no reason not to believe them.

Yet.

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