Alex Rodriguez, the former Yankees star and three-time American League most valuable player, and Marc Lore, an e-commerce billionaire close to Rodriguez, signed a letter of intent on Saturday to purchase the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx , Parties on both sides of the deal 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 through 2023, but also “a way of controlling ownership” the organization would provide. ”
Rodriguez, 45, and Lore, 49, were the focus of a group that also made a serious run with Rodriguez’s partner, Jennifer Lopez Purchase of the Mets before pulling out of the process in August 2020 when the Mets completed the sale of the franchise to the billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen for $ 2.4 billion.
Rodriguez and Lore have 30 days to finalize the Minnesota deal after they sign the letter of intent. A joint statement on Saturday said: “We look forward to entering this stage of the process with Glen Taylor. Our respect for him and the legacy he has built form an amazing foundation for what is to come. “
Taylor, who turns 80 on April 20, has been trying to sell the Timberwolves and Lynx since July 2020. The two franchises are routinely valued at $ 1.5 billion. Over the past few months, Taylor has stated repeatedly that the process is moving slowly, partly due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the financial sector and the profitability of franchises across the state. A recent introduction to Rodriguez and Lore seemed to have changed that.
in the an interview on Saturday With the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which he also owns, Taylor said Saturday’s deal came “very quickly”. He also told the newspaper that Rodriguez and Lore intended to keep the Minneapolis franchise in order to quell speculation that would surely swirl over the Timberwolves’ possible move to Seattle. This, of course, is the city where Rodriguez’s career in Major League Baseball began – and which has longed for an NBA team since SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008.
“They’ll keep the team here,” Taylor told The Star Tribune. “We’ll include it in the agreement. At this point we have a letter of intent, but when we finalize the contract we will put it there. That won’t be a problem. “
Taylor bought the Timberwolves in 1994, preserving the club’s Minnesota status in the face of serious threats of relocation to New Orleans. However, since trading Kevin Garnett, the best gamer in franchise history, to Boston in 2007, he has had a difficult time. Minnesota is well on its way to missing the playoffs for the 16th time in 17 seasons since the club’s trip to the 2003-04 Western Conference Final. It has the worst record in the 30-team NBA this season at 13-40.
Taylor entered a similarly advanced stage of the sales pitch in August 2020 with a group led by Daniel E. Straus, a former minority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, to see the business collapse. It wasn’t the first time Taylor pulled out of the negotiating table after seriously entertaining the team’s sales, but Rodriguez and Lore seem poised to provide a schedule that will allow Taylor to slowly wean himself off Timberwolve’s possession – a luxury he is known to covet deeply.
The Timberwolves have had a tumultuous season, in part due to the sacking in February of coach Ryan Saunders, son of longtime former Minnesota coach Flip Saunders, and subsequent criticism of the sudden hiring of Chris Finch, an assistant coach at the Toronto Raptors, attributed to Saunders replacement. They have two No. 1 draft picks on the roster in Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwardsas well as a previous # 2 in D’Angelo Russell, but the Wolves will lose their top picks in the 2021 draft under a previous deal with Golden State unless they finish in the top three in the draft lottery.
Now a prominent television analyst for baseball shows for ESPN in addition to his various business activitiesRodriguez scored 696 home races over a 22-year career with the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and Yankees and won a 2009 World Series ring as a Yankee using performance enhancing drugs. Lore was the chief executive officer of US e-commerce at Walmart and previously founded large e-commerce companies such as Diapers.com and Jet.com.