Timberwolves

How Do A-Rod's Reported Financial Issues Affect the Timberwolves?

Photo Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Land of 10,000 Lakes isn’t usually involved in the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Not since Kim Kardashian called this great state “yee-haw Minnesota” while trotting around western suburb mansions and Lake Minnetonka with her husband of 72-days, Kris Humphries, have we been at the center of celebrity gossip circles. Well, we’re back in the headlines, baby! This time, the Timberwolves are at the center of one of Hollywood’s juiciest love triangles. No, not Glen Taylor. But the newer, younger, more famous owner, Alex Rodriguez.

Everything has been going well since we learned that A-Rod and his business partner Marc Lore were buying the Timberwolves last year. Besides the unyielding dread that Rodriguez and Lore might move the Wolves to Seattle or Las Vegas, their short time as minority owners has been the second most fruitful stretch in franchise history. Anthony Edwards is on the precipice of superstar status, and they won a few playoff games. They traded for Rudy Gobert and poached a top executive from their division rivals.

But as we know all too well in Minnesota, good things never last. The New York Post reported that Rodriguez doesn’t have the funds to pay for his full share of the team, leaving the deal’s future somewhat in limbo. It might all stem from Jennifer Lopez dumping him for another run at Ben Affleck. We’ve all been there. You hit a few hundred home runs, hook up with the hottest woman on the planet, and blow $1.5 billion with your buddy who’s a little too into taking his shoes off in public. Then the most attractive woman in the world leaves you for Matt Damon’s sidekick, and now you can’t pay your friend back. It’s a story that’s ironically replacing Bennifer 3.0’s wedding video in the tabloid headlines.

However, this silly celebrity story might have real ramifications on the Timberwolves’ future.

Long story short, A-Rod and Lore were supposed to be equal partners when they made their first investment in the team in July 2021. However, A-Rod reportedly couldn’t come up with his full share of cash, so what was supposed to be an even split of the first 20% of the transaction is now roughly 13% for Lore and 7% for Rodriguez. The New York Post reports that Rodriguez’s breakup with Lopez is why he’s struggling to find the cash. She played a big part in his meetings with investors with her ability to charm the guys who cash his checks. If this is true, and the report’s details have been disputed, this could put a wrench in Lore and A-Rod’s bid to take over as majority owners of the Timberwolves in 2023.

This alleged bump in the road could have a few outcomes, some more likely than others. The first is the most detrimental to the Timberwolves and is also the least likely to happen. A-Rod defaults on his payments, Lore can’t cover his share, and the deal falls through. We’re stuck with Taylor for a few more years in that nightmare scenario. The Wolves lose any type of swagger and celebrity that the former Yankees superstar and his billionaire buddy brought to Minnesota. The good news is, even in the nuclear option, the on-court product shouldn’t be affected — at least for this season. The Wolves won’t have to give Gobert back to Utah, they won’t have to trade Anthony Edwards, and Chris Finch and Tim Connelly are still at the helm.

The possibility of relocation would be the most significant impact of having to find a new buyer. Lore and Rodriguez have been adamant they want to keep the Wolves in Minnesota. They even looked Taylor in the eyes and promised him they weren’t lying to push through a billion-dollar deal. But a new owner to be named later is a total wild card. We’ve had more than a year to gauge Lore and Rodriguez’s sincerity, and fans have begun to embrace the dynamic duo. The NBA would prefer expansion instead of relocation, but a new owner could put the fanbase back on edge.

The second would essentially see Lore cover whatever Rodriguez can’t pay for, making A-Rod a minority owner with little power within the team. That’s the nightmare scenario for Rodriguez. He will still have to pay hundreds of millions to become Lore’s No. 2 instead of being an equal partner in the venture. While this would suck for A-Rod, it probably doesn’t affect the Timberwolves too much unless Lore thinks he’s Jerry Jones and Telosa becomes a basketball city.

The last and most likely scenario is that A-Rod raises the cash, and his process of buying the Wolves continues as if nothing happened. According to the Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski, Wolves fans have nothing to worry about. Things seem to remain on track. Lore said, “I couldn’t imagine having a better partner. He is one of my best friends.” Crazier things have happened than two best friends falling out over $1.5 billion. But all seems to be going well for now.

Lore and Rodriguez don’t have to make another 20% payment until the end of the year, so A-Rod has four months to dig in his couch for some spare change. Tabloids are known to exaggerate the truth to no end. It will take some time to get used to the Timberwolves and those associated with the franchise making headlines. It’s a sign that the team is moving into uncharted territory. We’re entering one of the most hyped seasons in Timberwolves history. Let’s hope the good vibes last longer than A-Rod’s money.

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