A-Rod, Lore Say They’re ‘Going to Be’ the Next Timberwolves Owners

Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore say they will be the next owners of the Minnesota Timberwolves despite Glen Taylor’s recent proclamation that their four-part deal is off.

Speaking to Sportico about 24 hours after Taylor announced that he would retain control of the NBA team, Lore and Rodriguez said they never breached any part of their agreement and said Taylor’s claims showed “complete and utter disregard for the contract.”

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They accused Taylor of fabricating a story in order to back out of a deal that was no longer financially advantageous.

“We’re going to be the owners of the Minnesota Timberwolves,” Lore said. “It’s just a matter of time, and how much pain Glen wants to put the fans, the players, the town and community through. It’s his choice. It didn’t have to be this way.”

The Timberwolves declined to comment while the NBA didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Lore and Rodriguez reached an agreement with Taylor in 2021 to buy the Timberwolves in four parts, starting with 20% at a $1.5 billion valuation, and 4% value escalators in each of the following payments. They currently hold 36% and were in the process of securing another 40% for about $600 million when Taylor said they’d missed a March 27 deadline to close on the deal and that the team was no longer being sold.

Lore and Rodriguez referenced a clause from their purchase agreement—section 6.4, part A—which says the buyers should receive an automatic 90-day extension if they’ve submitted the signed financial subscriptions but are still awaiting NBA approvals. The commitments were submitted on March 21, they said, six days before the March 27 deadline. The NBA approval is in process.

Taylor said in his statement Thursday: “Under certain circumstances, the buyer could have been entitled to a limited extension. However, those circumstances did not occur.”

So what happens next? Lore and Rodriguez said their lawyers at Wachtell Lipton are currently speaking with lawyers at the NBA. They did not commit to a lawsuit but said they were willing to take action to defend their interpretation of the contract.

“I’ve never sued anyone; I’ve never been sued,” Lore said, “but we’re dealing with someone that is very comfortable operating that way, and we have to take whatever actions are necessary to protect our childhood dream here.”

Lore and Rodriguez declined to provide specifics about the financing of their first 36% equity position, or how it broke down between the two of them. (Lore has put in more money, according to multiple reports.) Rodriguez said that in a hypothetical future where the deal was done, the pair was set to control 55%-65% of the cap table, their holdings would be “close to even,” and that they’d both put in “hundreds of millions” of their own money into the deal.

The structure of the deal—particularly the four payments spaced over as many as four years—has raised eyebrows across the sports deal-making community as abnormal. Rodriguez said the pair was originally in talks to pay the $1.5 billion price in cash in 2021, but that the deal was switched to a longer multiyear path to control at Taylor’s request.

As a result, the $1.5 billion valuation looks like a bigger discount with each passing day. Two more recent transactions—Mat Ishbia’s buy of the Phoenix Suns for a record $4 billion and Michael Jordan’s sale of the Charlotte Hornets for $3 billion—are widely considered to have dramatically raised the floor of NBA valuations.

The team is also dramatically improved on the court. The Timberwolves are 50-22 and led by All-Star Anthony Edwards, one of the league’s brightest young talents. The franchise was valued at $2.94 billion in Sportico’s latest NBA valuations.

Lore and Rodriguez claim their front office moves, including hiring Timberwolves president Tim Connelly, has increased the team’s valuation while putting the club in position to be contenders in the long term. That’s part of why Taylor has seller’s remorse and is reneging on the deal, according to Rodriguez and Lore.

Lore and Rodriguez claim Taylor has ordered team leadership to not speak with them. This includes everyone from Timberwolves CEO Ethan Casson down to the players. They’re also not allowed to enter the franchise’s designated family room and certain parts of team facilities, according to them.

Sportico reported earlier this week that the relationship between the Taylor and the buyers had soured in recent months. A source cited an owner’s suite that the pair built inside Target Center as an example of actions that bothered Taylor. Rodriguez said that talk was distracting from the facts of their purchase agreement.

“Think about it from our end: If we had an ironclad agreement, like we do, would we be talking about how Marc and Alex are more worried about the owners suite than making real [basketball] trades?” Rodriguez said. “It’s so f***ing childish. But you only do that when you don’t have any ground to sit on.”

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