Former Yankees star and three times most valuable player in the American League, Alex Rodriguez, and Marc Lore, an ecommerce billionaire close to Rodriguez, on Saturday signed a letter of intent to buy the Minnesota Timberwolves from the NBA and the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA. , parties on both sides of the agreement announced.
The Timberwolves said in a statement that Glen Taylor, the team’s longtime owner, had agreed to a “deal structure” with Rodriguez and Lore that would make them limited partners until 2023, but would also provide them with “a means of controlling the ownership of the organization. . “
Rodriguez, 45, and Lore, 49, were at the heart of a group that, also along with Rodriguez’s partner Jennifer Lopez, made serious attempts to buy the Mets before pulling out of the process in August 2020 as the Mets were getting closer to selling the franchise to billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen for $ 2.4 billion.
Rodriguez and Lore have 30 days to complete the deal with Minnesota after signing the letter of intent and saying in a joint statement on Saturday: “We look forward to entering this phase of the process with Glen Taylor. Our respect for him and the legacy he has built lays the foundation for what is to come.
Taylor, who turns 80 on April 20, has been trying to sell Timberwolves and Lynxes since July 2020, with both franchises regularly valued at around $ 1.5 billion. Over the past few months, Taylor has repeatedly said the process is moving slowly, in part because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the financial industry and the profitability of franchises across the league. A recent introduction to Rodriguez and Lore seems to have changed that.
In an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which he also owns, on Saturday, Taylor said Saturday’s deal was done “very quickly.” He also told the newspaper that Rodriguez and Lore intend to keep the franchises in Minneapolis, attempting to quell speculation that is sure to swirl about the Timberwolves’ potential move to Seattle. This is the city, of course, where Rodriguez’s Major League Baseball career began – and one that has aspired for an NBA team since the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008.
“They will keep the team here,” Taylor told the Star Tribune. “We’re going to put it in the deal. At this point, we have a letter of intent, but when we write the contract, we’ll put it in there. It won’t be a problem.
Taylor bought the Timberwolves in 1994, preserving the Minnesota club’s status amid a serious threat of a move to New Orleans, but has gone through tough times since the 2007 trade of Kevin Garnett, the best player in the world. franchise history in Boston. Minnesota is set to miss the playoffs for the 16th time in the past 17 seasons since the club’s trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2003-4. He has the worst record in the NBA at 30 teams this season at 13-40.
Taylor entered an equally advanced phase of sale talks in August 2020 with a group led by Daniel E. Straus, former minority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, to watch the deal collapse. It wasn’t the first time Taylor had walked away from the negotiating table after seriously entertaining the squad sale, but Rodriguez and Lore seem willing to grant a timeline that allows Taylor to slowly wean himself off the team. owned by the Timberwolves – a luxury he is known to deeply covet.
The Timberwolves have had a tumultuous season in part thanks to the February sacking of coach Ryan Saunders, the son of longtime former Minnesota coach Flip Saunders, and the criticism that followed for their sudden hiring of Chris Finch, an assistant coach of the Toronto Raptors, as the replacement for Saunders. They have two No.1 draft picks on the list to Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards, as well as a former No.2 draft pick to D’Angelo Russell, but Wolves will lose their top pick in the 2021 Draft. as part of a previous trade with Golden State, unless it places in the top three of the draw.
Now a leading television analyst on baseball shows for ESPN in addition to his various business activities, Rodriguez has hit 696 home runs in a 22-season career with the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and Yankees. and won a World Series ring as a Yankee in 2009 – but also faced stiff criticism and a one-year suspension as a player for his proven use of performance-enhancing drugs. Lore was general manager of US e-commerce for Walmart and previously founded large e-commerce companies such as Diapers.com and Jet.com.