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 Wilf, Mark 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.”