Glen Taylor

Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam Exploring Bid For Timberwolves

Jimmy Haslam, the owner of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, is the latest potential buyer to explore a bid for the Timberwolves, according to Scott Soshnick of Sportico.

When we last checked in on the possibility of a Timberwolves sale, former Grizzlies minority shareholder Daniel Straus was said to be in advanced discussions about a potential purchase. However, while The Straus Group did enter into exclusive talks to buy the Wolves, no agreement was reached by the time that window expired, according to Soshnick.

That doesn’t mean that Straus is out of the mix as a potential buyer — Soshnick hears that he remains in talks to potentially purchase the franchise. However, it does open the door for other bidders, such as Haslam, to enter the picture.

Haslam is the CEO of truck stop company Pilot Flying J. Multiple top executives of the company committed multi-million dollar fraud and were sentenced to jail time, but Haslam wasn’t charged as a result of that investigation and has denied any wrongdoing, Soshnick notes. Forbes estimates that the Browns owner is worth about $2.9 billion.

Haslam’s résumé as an NFL team owner likely won’t inspire much enthusiasm among Timberwolves fans — in seven full seasons since he assumed control of the Browns, the team has an overall record of 28-83-1, with no winning seasons and an 0-16 campaign (in 2017).

At least one previous report has indicated that current Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is seeking an amount in the $1.2 billion range for the franchise. His WNBA club, the Minnesota Lynx, is expected to be part of any sale as well.

Straus Closing In On Purchase Of Timberwolves

An investment group headed by former Grizzlies minority owner Daniel Straus is in advanced talks to buy the Timberwolves, The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania report.

The WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx would also be part of the deal. However, there are still a number of issues to be resolved before the sides reach an agreement.

The initial report about Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor mulling the sale of the team surfaced on July 21.

While a group that included former Wolves superstar Kevin Garnett was reportedly interested, the Straus Group has shown serious interest from the start. Its representatives visited the Twin Cities two weeks ago for official meetings, toured the team facilities and reviewed financial documents, according to The Athletic duo.

It entered an exclusivity agreement that expired last week. That didn’t slow the talks, though a handful of other groups were also initially interested in purchasing the team.

Garnett has not had formal discussions with Taylor during the process. Their relationship deteriorated over the years. Garnett referred to Taylor as a “snake” as recently as this spring.

Taylor reportedly wanted assurances that the franchise will remain in Minneapolis and Straus has made that pledge, The Athletic duo adds.

Northwest Notes: Carmelo, MPJ, SGA, Wolves

Carmelo Anthony‘s NBA career appeared to be on life support after aborted stints in Oklahoma City and Houston in recent years. However, Anthony and the Trail Blazers have brought out the best in one another, Mark Medina of USA Today argues in the wake of Portland’s impressive win over Houston on Tuesday.

“He’s all about the team. He understands what we need from him in certain situations,” Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard said of Anthony. “He knows how the game is going. He knows how to put himself in place to help the team. It’s obvious for somebody like me that pays attention to everything. I find it real funny and disrespectful how people speak on him. He’s a Hall-of-Famer.”

Anthony’s NBA future was in jeopardy following his release from the Rockets due in large part to questions about his defense. Although he hasn’t exactly become a defensive stopper since joining the Trail Blazers, Carmelo hasn’t been a major liability either — the team has an identical defensive rating when he plays and when he sits. As Medina notes, the veteran forward had a key blocked shot on P.J. Tucker late in Tuesday’s game.

“I say everybody who was talking, or said something negative about him, they need to apologize, you know?” Blazers wing Gary Trent Jr. said, per Jason Quick of The Athletic. “It’s Carmelo Anthony. He went through tough times. He battled, stayed resilient and for him to come back and bounce back like it’s nothing? That’s why he’s Carmelo Anthony and why he does what he does.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. followed up a 37-point, 12-rebound performance on Monday with a 30-point, 15-rebound showing on Wednesday, prompting rave reviews from his coach and teammates. As Mike Singer of The Denver Post writes, Michael Malone referred to Porter as a “cornerstone” of the franchise. Meanwhile, injured swingman Will Barton – whom Porter is replacing in the staring lineup – tweeted that the second-year forward is “special,” adding that he “can’t be on a leash with that type (of) ability.”
  • Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is getting more of a chance to run the offense during Dennis Schröder‘s absence from the team, as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman observes. While Schröder and Chris Paul have spent most of the time handling the point this season, Gilgeous-Alexander projects to be the team’s long-term point guard.
  • With Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor mulling a sale of the franchise, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic takes a fascinating, in-depth look at Taylor’s original purchase of the team in 1994, exploring how he helped keep the Wolves in Minnesota.

Northwest Notes: Wolves, SGA, Nurkic, Nuggets, Gobert

As Glen Taylor considers a potential sale of the Timberwolves, one of his top priorities is making sure the team remains in Minnesota. Sources tell Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic that any purchase agreement will likely include steep financial penalties for moving the franchise, while Chris Hine of The Star Tribune reports that the Wolves already have an agreement with the city to pay a $50MM penalty if they move before 2035.

Meanwhile, Krawczynski writes that Taylor and the Timberwolves have been “inundated” with interest over the last couple weeks. According to The Athletic, there are at least five “legitimate” bidders besides the groups that include former NBA players Kevin Garnett and Arron Afflalo.

While it remains to be seen which group might emerge as the most serious suitor for the Timberwolves, Taylor tells The Star Tribune that one group – a family from out of state – is further along in the process than the others.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman suggests that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander‘s superstar potential should dissuade the Thunder from engaging in a full-fledged teardown in a year or two, since acquiring a player with SGA’s upside would be the goal of such a process.
  • Ramona Shelburne of ESPN takes an in-depth look at Jusuf Nurkic‘s long recovery from the broken leg that sidelined him for 16 months, exploring what the Trail Blazers center gained from losing a year to that injury. “​For me to be on the sideline for 16 months, watching the team play and just being around them as more of a coach than as a player,” Nurkic said, “it gives you a totally different perspective for the game, for life, for my team and family.”
  • The health and conditioning of his players are among Michael Malone‘s most pressing concerns with the Nuggets‘ seeding games about to get underway, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Injuries and late arrivals make it unclear which players will be at full speed when Denver resumes play on Saturday, Singer observes.
  • Rudy Gobert‘s positive coronavirus test on March 11 shut down the NBA. Four-and-a-half months later, it was Gobert scoring the game-winning basket for the Jazz in the first game of the NBA’s restart. As Tim MacMahon of ESPN details, Gobert said on Thursday night that he’s “grateful” to be in a position to get back on the court and resume the season. “Life works in mysterious ways,” he said.

Glen Taylor Discusses Potential Timberwolves Sale

4:04pm: The Raine Group approached the Vikings owners a few months ago to gauge their interest in purchasing the Timberwolves, sources tell Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link). However, according to Krawczynski, while there were some initial discussions, there are no active talks with the Wilf family about the Wolves at this time.


10:12am: After word broke on Tuesday that Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor had retained The Raine Group to explore selling the franchise, Taylor spoke to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic about the possibility of a sale.

As Taylor explained, he’s willing to get more serious about the idea at this point because he feels as if the organization is in a good place with Gersson Rosas installed as the head of basketball operations and Ryan Saunders as the head coach.

“I think I put a really good team together with the Timberwolves,” Taylor said, referring to those franchise leaders. “I feel really good about that. There’s a good team there. Both the player bunch and the business bunch. So I think I’ve done my responsibility there to have that so it can go on and become better.”

Former Timberwolves star Kevin Garnett is part of one group that has emerged as a serious suitor for the team, as we relayed on Tuesday. Garnett posted a message on Twitter on Tuesday night expressing his “passion” for the Wolves and his deep affection for the city of Minneapolis, noting that he hopes he and Taylor can work out a deal.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Wilf family – which owns the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings – is also a serious candidate to purchase the NBA franchise. The Wilfs oversaw the construction of U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota and are building a state-of-the-art training facility for the Vikings. Zygi WilfMark Wilf, and Leonard Wilf also been active in the community, donating $5MM to COVID-19 relief and another $5MM to social justice causes this year.

Both Garnett and the Wilfs have strong local ties, which should strengthen their potential bids. As Krawczynski details, Taylor has made it clear to possible buyers that they must commit to keeping the Wolves in Minnesota in order to receive serious consideration.

“People have inquired who are interested, and very interested and have the money, but they want to move a team,” Taylor said. “They are not a candidate. We’ve made that very clear. In those terms, nothing has changed.”

Here’s more on a possible sale of the Timberwolves:

  • According to both Schefter and Krawczynski, New York real estate developer Meyer Orbach is one potential bidder to watch. Orbach is a current Wolves minority stakeholder who has amassed more and more shares of the franchise and is a highly visible member of the ownership group, per Krawczynski.
  • Sources have told The Athletic that Taylor will be seeking north of $1 billion for the team. It remains to be seen just how far north of $1 billion that price tag could go — the club was valued at $1.375 billion by Forbes earlier this year.
  • Brian Windhorst, Bobby Marks, and Tim Bontemps of ESPN took a closer look at the possibility of a Wolves sale, citing sources who estimated Taylor could get more than $1.5 billion for the team if he were willing to allow it to be moved. Since he’s not, the price could be closer to the $1.25 billion valuation the Grizzlies received last year when Robert Pera bought out his partners.
  • It’s possible that a buyer would want to purchase a smaller portion of the team before eventually taking over for Taylor as the controlling owner, like Joe Tsai did in recent years with the Nets. However, there’s a strong chance that Taylor will “hand over the keys to the castle” immediately if a sale is completed, according to Krawczynski. “I own a whole bunch of companies and my life is pretty complex,” Taylor said. “… Just another year or two have gone by. I just think as time goes on, I’m more inclined to say I should probably get my house in order here.”

Kevin Garnett Part Of Group Preparing Bid For Wolves

5:24pm: Garnett wants to keep the Wolves in Minnesota if his group is successful in its bid, sources tell Charania (Twitter link).


4:58pm: Former Timberwolves star Kevin Garnett is part of a group of investors preparing a bid to submit to Wolves owner Glen Taylor in the hopes of purchasing the franchise, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).

As we detailed in our earlier story about Taylor exploring a possible sale of the Wolves, Charania initially reported that Garnett’s group was seriously interested in the team and was exploring the possibility of a bid. Now it sounds as if KG’s group is close to officially putting an offer on the table.

A Hall-of-Famer, Garnett didn’t win a championship until after he was traded to the Celtics, but enjoyed the most productive years of his NBA career in Minnesota. He averaged 19.8 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 4.3 APG, and 1.6 BPG in 970 games (37.3 MPG) over 14 seasons with the Wolves, including the last couple years of his career. Garnett was a 10-time All-Star, a four-time rebounding champion, and the 2004 MVP during his time with the franchise.

However, Garnett hasn’t been on good terms with Taylor for the last several years, having previously suggested that he felt there was an understanding he would join the Wolves’ front office after his retirement — and that Taylor reneged on that agreement following the death of Flip Saunders. Still, even when Garnett has criticized Taylor, he has always stressed his fondness for Minnesota and the Timberwolves.

“My years in Minnesota and in that community, I cherish,” Garnett told Shams Charania of The Athletic in April when discussing why his number hadn’t been retired by the Wolves. “At this point, I don’t want any dealings with Glen Taylor or Taylor Corp. or anything that has to do with him. I love my Timberwolves, I’ll always love my guys, I’ll always love the people who f–k with me there. I’ll always have a special place for the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota in my heart.”

Although Garnett made a staggering $343MM+ over the course of his 21-year NBA career, per Basketball-Reference, he probably isn’t in position to become the majority owner of a franchise valued at $1.375 billion by Forbes earlier this year. It’s not yet clear what other investors are part of Garnett’s group.

As we noted in our earlier story, Taylor has retained The Raine Group to explore a sale of the Timberwolves and has made it clear he’s not interested in selling to a group that wants to relocate the team. Presumably, given his connection with Minnesota, KG’s goal would be to keep the Wolves in their current location, though he has also talked in the past about wanting to bring the NBA back to Seattle.

Taylor also told Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link) today that if a sale is completed, he’d expect his WNBA team – the Minnesota Lynx – to be part of it.

“The way I run it, it’s all one thing,” Taylor said. “I would assume we would want to keep it that way and make it more efficient.”

Glen Taylor Exploring Sale Of Timberwolves

4:13pm: Taylor tells Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter links) that The Raine Group approached him about a potential buyer, but it didn’t work out because the group wanted to relocate the franchise.

“People have inquired who are interested but they want to move the team,” Taylor said. “They are not a candidate. We’ve made that very clear.”

Although that offer didn’t gain traction, there are other potential options available that are being explored, Krawczynski notes.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter), Kevin Garnett is part of one group of investors that has serious interest in buying the Timberwolves and is exploring a bid.


3:30pm: Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has retained The Raine Group to explore a sale of the franchise, three people with direct knowledge of the situation tell Scott Soshnick of Sportico.

According to Soshnick, multiple parties have already bid on the team. One of Soshnick’s sources suggests that a sale agreement could even be reached within the next month.

Taylor’s decision is unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Soschnick, who adds that the Wolves’ owner didn’t want a public auction and instead asked Raine to directly seek out a buyer.

The Raine Group, a global merchant bank, has experience dealing in the sports world, having previously worked with FIFA to raise capital for the World Cup, Soshnick notes. The firm also assisted in the sale of a $500MM stake in Manchester City FC to private equity giant Silver Lake.

Taylor has owned the Timberwolves since 1994, having paid a reported $88MM for the franchise at the time. Earlier this year, Forbes estimated that the current value of the Wolves is $1.375 billion.

Although the Wolves experienced some success early in Taylor’s tenure, making the postseason eight straight times when Kevin Garnett was on the roster, the club only advanced beyond the first round once, in 2004. Minnesota didn’t make the playoffs for the next 13 years and has also missed out in each of the last two seasons following a 2018 postseason appearance.

The Wolves have struggled to build around their star players since 2004, trading away Garnett and eventually doing the same with Kevin Love. The team is now in the process of trying to find the right pieces to complement star big man Karl-Anthony Towns.

In addition to their lack of success on the court, the Wolves have had their ups and downs off the court. Most notably, Garnett – the longtime face of the franchise – has been on bad terms with Taylor for years, having suggested that, after Flip Saunders passed away, the Wolves owner reneged on an agreement to have KG join the front office. Garnett referred to Taylor as a “snake” as recently as this spring.

If Taylor, a Minnesota native and a former Minnesota State Senator, moves forward and attempts to finalize a sale, he seems likely to do so with a buyer that would be committed to keeping the team in Minnesota, as Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News tweets. The Wolves ranked last in the NBA in attendance during the 2019/20 season, so some potential suitors would likely be interested in exploring the possibility of relocation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kevin Garnett Talks Hall Of Fame, Timberwolves, More

The Basketball Hall of Fame officially announced over the weekend that Kevin Garnett will be part of a star-studded Hall of Fame class of 2020, joining former NBA legends Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan in a group that also features former head coach Rudy Tomjanovich, ex-WNBA star Tamika Catchings, and four others.

In a conversation with Shams Charania of The Athletic, Garnett spoke about his election into the Hall of Fame, referring to it as “the perfect way to end a dope story.”

The former Timberwolves and Celtics big man also offered some thoughts on what it means to be inducted alongside longtime rivals Bryant and Duncan, and weighed in on a few more topics. Here are some highlights from the discussion, which is worth checking out in full:

On going into the Hall of Fame with Bryant and Duncan:

“They both are unprecedented, not only athletes, but people. I feel more than honored to go in with these two, but Kobe not being there is going to be super emotional for everybody.

“The fact that the three of us actually pushed the other two… whether it was awards, All-Stars, battles, rings — we all three pushed the lines. To go in with these two guys, I couldn’t ask for two other people to go in with. And shout out to Tamika Catchings too. I’m a huge fan of Catch; Catch has put that grind in, she’s put that work in, and it’s dope to see all of us right here.”

On his NBA career:

“If I could actually go back and change anything, I would’ve left Minnesota a little earlier, knowing that the management wasn’t as committed as I was. Or wasn’t committed at all. I probably would’ve went to Boston or changed the situation earlier. I would’ve been a little younger and that means less wear and tear on the body. Teaming up with Paul (Pierce), I should’ve done that earlier. Who knows — I’m probably sitting here with another ring or two. But, yeah.”

On why his number is being retired in Boston, but not in Minnesota:

(Timberwolves owner) Glen (Taylor) knows where I’m at, I’m not entertaining it. First of all, it’s not genuine. Two, he’s getting pressure from a lot of fans and, I guess, the community there. Glen and I had an understanding before (former Wolves coach and executive) Flip (Saunders) died, and when Flip died, that understanding went with Flip. For that, I won’t forgive Glen. I won’t forgive him for that. I thought he was a straight up person, straight up business man, and when Flip died, everything went with him.

“There’s no reason to complain. Just continue to move on. My years in Minnesota and in that community, I cherish. At this point, I don’t want any dealings with Glen Taylor or Taylor Corp. or anything that has to do with him. I love my Timberwolves, I’ll always love my guys, I’ll always love the people who f–k with me there. I’ll always have a special place for the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota in my heart. But I don’t do business with snakes.”

Heat, Wolves Among Latest To Provide Aid To Arena Workers

The Heat and AmericanAirlines Arena announced on Wednesday that they’ll be providing financial assistance to team and arena part-time staffers who have lost work as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Heat owner Micky Arison‘s foundation will be donating an additional $1MM to establish an initiative aimed at aiding employees and addressing other community needs in the coming months, Winderman adds.

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor also announced this week that he’s pledging $1MM of relief to part-time workers at the Target Center, as Chris Hine of The Star Tribune details.

Miami and Minnesota join most of the rest of the NBA’s teams in having announced plans to assist their part-time arena workers displaced by the hiatus. A small handful of clubs, including the Jazz and Thunder, have yet to announce a formal plan or confirm that plans are in motion, but that isn’t to say that those teams won’t implement a program as well.

As Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune writes, Jazz center Rudy Gobert pledged $200K to part-time arena employees in Utah, but the team has yet to inform its 800+ part-time workers how that donation will be used or whether the franchise itself will be compensating its arena employees for lost games in any way — currently, staffers are only being paid for events they actually worked, according to Larsen, who notes that the Jazz ownership group seems “focused on job placement for their part-time employees, rather than subsidies.”

Timberwolves Owner Talks Saunders, D-Lo, Wiggins

Although Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas is responsible for making roster decisions in Minnesota, any trade requires the approval of owner Glen Taylor. As such, Taylor was very involved in basketball decisions at this year’s trade deadline, when the Wolves traded away half their roster in a series of major deals.

In a conversation with Sid Hartman of The Star Tribune, Taylor said that he and Rosas “talk quite often” and that the team had spent much of the season preparing for moves like the one that sent Robert Covington to Houston and especially the one that saw D’Angelo Russell land in Minnesota.

Taylor said he’s “excited” to have acquired so many promising young players that are in the same age range as Karl-Anthony Towns, suggesting that the team’s hope is for those players to continue to improve and grow together.

Taylor’s conversation with Hartman included a handful of other noteworthy comments, including the Wolves owner’s thoughts on head coach Ryan Saunders‘ job security, trading former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, and more. Here are a few of the highlights:

On whether he has considered replacing Saunders during the Timberwolves’ current 6-29 stretch:

“No, no, no, he is hired. A young guy and he is going to get better as time goes on and we just have to give him that time.

“[Saunders] is excited about this change that now he has guys that can play the kind of basketball he wants. He is really a believer in the three-point shot, moving the ball fast, and getting up and down the court. He needed some players that were better three-point shooters than what we had previously.”

On the front office continuing to push for Russell after completing its Covington trade:

“They kept working on Russell, that was the main thing that they wanted to accomplish. They were able to do that and get two young guys out of Denver (Malik Beasley and Juan Hernangomez) that were part of our hopes for the future. It just dragged on — these things are difficult — almost to the last few hours before everything fell into place. But it was very interesting to me that normally if part of this would have fell into place, we would have been happy. But in this particular case, everything went our way. We think we have helped our team and we have probably helped some other teams. It is probably a win-win.”

On Wiggins becoming easier to move this season than he was last summer:

“I don’t think there was any secret to that. Andrew worked really hard. He didn’t have the best year last year, and we worked really hard with him this summer to improve and I think we saw some improvements. That allowed us to have the chance to make a trade this year where last year I don’t think it was there with any team.”

“… I think [Warriors head coach] Steve Kerr said it exactly right, this should be a win-win. Us getting Russell should really help us and them getting Wiggins on their team should really help them. Wiggins won’t be expected to be the main scorer. He can fit in with their team. I’m hopeful it works out for him, and I’m confident it will work out with Russell on our team.”