It has been nearly six months since reports surfaced indicating that Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor was exploring a sale of the franchise. However, firm offers for the team have been “tepid,” sources tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN (Insider link).
In August, a report from The Athletic suggested that former Grizzlies minority owner Daniel Straus was closing in on a deal to buy the Timberwolves. According to Windhorst, Taylor and Straus got as far as a term sheet and continue to talk, but have been unable to finalize an agreement. Sources tell ESPN that Straus modified his offer once it became clear that fans wouldn’t fill arenas during the 2020/21 season.
Straus is still the favorite to become the team’s new owner, but Taylor’s history of exploring a sale and then pulling the team off the market creates some uncertainty, writes Windhorst. It also sounds as if valuations of the Wolves (which are in the $1.3-1.5 billion range, including debt, per ESPN) are lower than Taylor had hoped.
“I think Glen was hoping team values were still going up,” another team owner told ESPN. “I think we’re finding out they may not be right now.”
As we’ve noted in previous stories about a possible sale of the Wolves, Taylor’s insistence that the team remain in Minnesota is expected to put a ceiling on both the number of bidders and the sale price, since many potential suitors would be interested in relocating the club. Taylor has flatly rebuffed inquiries from those looking to relocate the Wolves, reports Windhorst.
A report last July indicated there were some preliminary discussions with the Wilf family – the owners of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings – but that they didn’t advance, which Windhorst confirms. Former Timberwolves star Kevin Garnett was also said to have interest in putting together a group to make a bid, but there has been no traction on that front either, per Windhorst.
While Straus reportedly remains a viable buyer for the Wolves, there doesn’t seem to be a clear Plan B if those talks stall. Taylor acknowledged in a recent interview that there’s a very real possibility he could still control the franchise a year from now.