Lore, A-Rod Reportedly Projected Reduced Payroll For Wolves

As part of their final option to purchase a majority stake, Timberwolves minority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez projected a team payroll of $171MM for the 2024/25 season in documents shared with current majority stakeholder Glen Taylor, the NBA, and The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

As Wojnarowski writes, the Wolves currently project to have a payroll of about $198MM in ’24/25. $171MM is obviously a significant reduction from that figure. It’s also just shy of the projected $171.3MM luxury tax line.

Lore and Rodriguez are currently in a contractual dispute with Taylor for majority ownership of the Wolves. Both sides declined to comment for the story, which isn’t surprising, as Wojnarowski hears the NBA asked those involved not to discuss the matter publicly. All three owners gave several interviews a couple weeks ago after Taylor announced he was retaining majority ownership of the Wolves and WNBA’s Lynx.

According to Wojnarowski, the reduced payroll for next season was one factor that led Taylor to void the contract with Lore and A-Rod. Taylor was concerned that such a cut “would jeopardize the franchise’s ability to compete for a championship,” Woj adds.

Of course, there’s some irony there, since Taylor isn’t exactly known for being a big spender. Since he bought the Wolves in 1994, he has only paid a total of $25MM in luxury tax penalties, with less than $2MM coming since 2005. The Wolves project to be above the second tax apron next season, with a tax bill exceeding $25MM.

I just think (we) built this team,” Taylor told The Athletic in explaining why he’s not putting the team back on the market. “We’ve got the players now. And it appears to me that we should have a very positive run for a number of years, and I want to be a part of that.”

While there have been rumors about Lore and Rodriguez’s ability to spend on the team going forward, since neither is a billionaire, they did approve of the contract extensions for Jaden McDaniels and Mike Conley as minority owners, sources tell Wojnarowski. Those deals increased Minnesota’s projected tax bill for ’24/25.

Lore and Rodriguez were also reportedly instrumental in hiring president of basketball operations Tim Connelly, who made the blockbuster trade for Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner Rudy Gobert. That move was quite controversial at the time, but it has paid off thus far in ’23/24, with the Wolves currently 55-24, the No. 1 seed in the West.

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