Kevin Garnett

Latest On Potential Sale Of Timberwolves

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.

Timberwolves Notes: Saunders, Draft, Martin, Garnett

It has been nearly two months since the Timberwolves won the draft lottery, but no clear favorite has emerged for the No. 1 pick, coach Ryan Saunders tells Sid Hartman of The Star Tribune. The most commonly mentioned names are Georgia guard Anthony Edwards, Memphis center James Wiseman, Dayton power forward Obi Toppin and point guard LaMelo Ball, who most recently played in Australia.

“A lot of players are interesting to me, a lot of them,” Saunders said. “Like I said, we’re open. This draft has a number of very talented players and we’re a group that is very open-minded.”

Minnesota holds not only the top pick, but also Nos. 17 and 33. There’s a lot of evaluation to be done before the November 18 draft, but Saunders said it has been slowed by coronavirus-related restrictions that placed a ban on in-person workouts.

“Can’t do any of that. It has been a lot of Zoom meetings and interviews and then just evaluating,” Saunders said. “We do a lot of work, and we have a number of people in this organization, (assistant general manager) Gianluca Pascucci, he does a lot of work with our draft. These guys are putting together a great plan and a great step-by-step process to what we’ll do.”

There’s more from Minnesota:

  • As one of eight teams not invited to Orlando, the Wolves didn’t get the benefit of seeing how their roster would come together after a pair of significant trades at the February deadline, Hartman adds in the same story. Saunders said an offseason priority will be finding players who fit comfortably with D’Angelo Russell, who played just 12 games for Minnesota after being acquired from Golden State, and Karl-Anthony Towns“That was one of the things that was so disappointing about not playing late in the season because we felt we were going to be able to do more things with some of the other guys that we acquired around (Towns),” Saunders said.
  • After landing a two-way contract with the Wolves last season, Kelan Martin is working to expand his game, writes Ben Stinar of Forbes. Martin was a star at Butler, but had to play overseas and go through the G League to get an NBA opportunity.
  • Kevin Garnett was in Minneapolis this week, but refused to comment on a potential sale of the Timberwolves, according to Chris Hine of The Star-Tribune. In July, Garnett expressed an interest in purchasing the team as part of a group of investors.

Nets Notes: Coaching Staff, KG, Durant, Harris

New Nets head coach Steve Nash and the team’s front office are seeking out assistants to join the former two-time MVP’s coaching staff, including Lakers assistant Phil Handy, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

2019/20 interim Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn will stay on staff as the team’s lead assistant during the 2020/21 season. Nash, an eight-time All-Star, joined the Nets staff last week in a surprising hire.

Here are more notes out of Brooklyn:

  • Former Nets forward (and Hall of Famer) Kevin Garnett, a 15-time All-Star, has said that he believes Brooklyn should look to trade for a high-level scoring wing like Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine or Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal to join current Brooklyn All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, according to Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News.
  • Kevin Durant expressed his enthusiasm for new coach Steve Nash‘s addition to the Brooklyn sideline, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN. “His insight for the game, his communication, how he communicates the game of basketball is definitely going to help me as a player develop and it’s going to help the rest of the team,” Durant said in a new episode of Pelicans swingman J.J. Redick‘s “The Old Man and the Three” podcast.
  • The addition of Nash may help convince Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris to stick around as he enters unrestricted free agency this summer, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “I met with him the other day, grabbed a coffee with him and [team president] Sean [Marks],” Harris said during a recent conversation with “The JWilly Show” podcast. “And he just talked about how he felt about me as a player and wanted me to come back and be in Brooklyn.”

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.

Latest On Possibility Of Timberwolves Sale

The Straus Group, an investment firm founded by Daniel Straus, is exploring the possibility of purchasing the Timberwolves, people with knowledge of the matter tells Gillian Tan of Bloomberg. It’s not clear if The Straus Group is operating alone or as part of a consortium, according to Tam.

Straus has been involved in NBA team ownership in the past, having controlled shares of the Grizzlies up until 2018. Majority owner Robert Pera bought out Straus and fellow minority stakeholder Steve Kaplan two years ago after a clause in their purchase agreement was triggered — if Pera hadn’t purchased Straus’ and Kaplan’s shares in the team, he would’ve had to sell the Grizzlies to them at the same valuation.

Straus is one of just many potential bidders in the mix for the Timberwolves, per Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News, who tweets that a number of people and groups with interest have not yet been publicly identified. Former NBA players Kevin Garnett and Arron Afflalo are believed to be part of two separate groups with interest in purchasing the franchise.

[RELATED: Glen Taylor Discusses Potential Timberwolves Sale]

According to Charley Walters of The St. Paul Pioneer Press, Garnett’s group includes a pair of billionaires from California and another one from Florida. Walters suggests that the plan would be for KG to invest $200MM and to become the head of basketball operations if his group were to buy the team. If that’s accurate, it’s not clear what it would mean for current president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas.

Walters also reports that the asking price for the Timberwolves – along with the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx – is expected to be in the $1.2 billion range, though that’s obviously subject to change depending on how the bidding plays out.

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.

2020 Hall Of Fame Ceremony To Be Delayed Until 2021

The 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony won’t take place this August, as initially planned. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the ceremony will tentatively be pushed back to the spring of 2021, according to the chairman of the Hall’s board of governors, Jerry Colangelo (story via Jackie MacMullan of ESPN).

This year’s star-studded class of Hall of Fame inductees is headed by Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and the late Kobe Bryant. Former Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, former college coach Eddie Sutton, longtime WNBA star Tamika Catchings, former FIBA and IOC executive Patrick Baumann, and veteran women’s basketball coaches Kim Mulkey and Barbara Stevens are also part of the 2020 class.

The induction ceremony for the nine new members of the Hall had been scheduled for the weekend of August 28-30, with proposed alternate dates of October 10-12. However, Colangelo tells MacMullan that those dates are “just not feasible” due to COVID-19’s impact on large gatherings.

“We’re definitely canceling,” Colangelo said to ESPN. “It’s going to have to be the first quarter of next year. We’ll meet in a couple of weeks and look at the options of how and when and where.”

Despite the delay, Colangelo made it clear that the Basketball Hall of Fame doesn’t intend to eventually merge the 2020 class with its 2021 class, which figures to be announced next spring — the plan is still to hold two separate ceremonies.

“We won’t be combining them,” Colangelo said. “The Class of 2020 is a very special class and deserves its own celebration.”

And-Ones: KG, Seattle, Free Agent Wings, Broekhoff

Speaking this week to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press, newly-elected Hall-of-Famer Kevin Garnett said he’d love to play a part in bringing the NBA back to the city of Seattle.

“If I have a dream, I would say that I would love to be able to go and buy the Seattle SuperSonics and reactivate the Seattle Northwest and get NBA loving back going into that area,” Garnett told Reynolds. “I think it’s needed and it’s essential. Seattle was huge to our league. Not just Portland, but the whole northwest. I would love to be able to do that.”

Although Garnett earned nearly $344MM over the course of his 21-year NBA career, per Basketball-Reference, it’s not clear that he has the net worth required to be the majority owner of an NBA franchise.

Still, if the league eventually becomes open to the idea of an expansion team in Seattle, it’s not inconceivable that Garnett could get involved in an ownership group. Dwyane Wade has previously expressed a desire to get involved in such an endeavor as well.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • In the first part of his breakdown of 2020’s free agent market for wings, Danny Leroux of The Athletic says Brandon Ingram is the most obvious candidate for a max-level deal, while Danilo Gallinari, Marcus Morris, Evan Fournier, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Malik Beasley are among the players who should be able to sign for more than the full mid-level.
  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report examines the most pressing salary cap issue facing each of the NBA’s 30 teams during the 2020 offseason.
  • Following a report from Sport5 (hat tip to Sportando) suggesting that Maccabi Tel Aviv may have interest in former Mavericks sharpshooter Ryan Broekhoff, the EuroLeague club responded by shooting down the idea that it’s already targeting players for next season amidst the COVID-19 uncertainty. “It was published today that Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv is ‘working on the next season’ and ‘targeting/interested’ in players,” the team said in a tweet. “We are clarifying here that this is false. The club doesn’t do that nowadays.”