Adam Silver On Wolves Dispute, Porter Investigation, More

Speaking to the media on Wednesday following a two-day meeting of the league’s Board of Governors, commissioner Adam Silver said the NBA likely won’t get involved in the Timberwolves‘ ownership dispute between current majority shareholder Glen Taylor and minority stakeholders Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune.

It’s not clear whether there will be a role for the league to get involved,” Silver said. “… They have a purchase agreement and there’s a dispute now in the purchase agreement and in their purchase agreement, they, in essence, pre-agreed to a dispute resolution mechanism that includes mediation and arbitration, and that’s where it stands.

There is no role for the league in that process.”

At Taylor’s request, Lore and Rodriguez agreed to buy the Timberwolves in three parts over multiple years. Lore and Rodriguez made the first two payments and currently control a 36% stake in the franchise, but Taylor voided the contract when he said the duo didn’t complete their final purchase option for another 40% on March 27. Silver suggested the unique structure of the deal may not permitted in future ownership transactions.

It’s certainly not ideal to have a stepped transaction like this,” Silver said. “I mean, it met our rules from that standpoint. And it’s what Glen Taylor wanted and it’s what they were willing to agree to at the time. But I think once the dust clears on this deal, it may cause us to reassess what sort of transactions we should allow.”

Here’s more from Silver’s press conference, which covered several other topics:

  • Raptors big man Jontay Porter, who is on a two-way deal, is under league investigation following multiple instances of betting irregularities related to his on-court performance. According to Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press, Silver said Porter could be permanently barred from the NBA if what he’s accused of is discovered to be true. “I have enormous range of discipline available to me,” Silver said. “It’s cardinal sin what he’s accused of in the NBA. The ultimate extreme option I have is to ban him from the game. That’s the level of authority I have here because there’s nothing more serious.” Porter has been listed as out for personal reasons for the past 10 games.
  • The NBA has multiple partnerships with gambling companies. Silver suggested the incident may cause the league to reevaluate those relationships going forward, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “At the end of the day, there’s nothing more important than the integrity of the competition,” Silver said. “And so, any issue raised around that is of great concern to me and to all commissioners, to all people who are safeguards, who are all people who are in a position and have a responsibility to safeguard the game. Again, this is a burgeoning industry in the United States. It’s been legal in other places in the world for decades. There’s lessons to be learned from the way that sports betting is monitored and regulated in other jurisdictions. And again, I think as these unfortunate examples come along, we may have to adjust our rules and our partner gaming companies and those companies that aren’t our partners may have to adjust their behavior as well.”
  • Silver said foul calls are down about four per game since the All-Star break and that’s something the league is pleased about, Mahoney writes. “I think there was a sense earlier in the season that there was too much of an advantage for the offensive players,” Silver said as part of a larger quote. “But again, the context is two fouls per team per game, and the end result, most importantly, we think is a better game.”
  • According to Mahoney, Silver once again reiterated that expansion won’t be on the table until the league finishes a new media rights deal. While Seattle and Las Vegas have long been rumored as frontrunners to land new teams, Silver said no talks have begun and “no one has an inside track to getting a deal done.”
  • Silver said star players have averaged 15% more games played this season with the additions of the player participation policy and 65-game requirements, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. The NBA will set an attendance record in ’23/24 as well, Silver added.
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