Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press
The Minnesota Timberwolves are looking for new ownership.
Owner Glen Taylor told Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic that The Raine Group approached him with people interested in bidding on the team, with multiple options currently being explored.
Taylor later commented on the sale report, saying people who are seeking to relocate the team won’t have their bids considered, according to Krawczynski.
Scott Soshnick of Sportico.com first reported the possible sale.
The Raine Group previously worked with Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer during his purchase of the franchise in 2014.
Taylor, 79, bought the Timberwolves in 1995 for $88 million.
It’s not known if the WNBA‘s Minnesota Lynx, also owned by Taylor, are for sale as well.
Soshnick reports the sale is not because of any “financial hardship” from the coronavirus pandemic with Taylor seeking bids of at least $1.2 billion—slightly lower than Forbes‘ 2020 valuation of $1.375, which ranks 28th in the NBA ahead of only the New Orleans Pelicans ($1.35 billion) and Memphis Grizzlies ($1.3 billion), respectively.
The last two NBA teams sold, the Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets, each fetched more than $2 billion. However, those clubs play in two of the top 10 media markets while the Timberwolves are located in the 15th-largest market, per Sports Media Watch.
Minnesota made the playoffs eight times in Taylor’s first nine years as owner, going as far as the Western Conference Finals in 2004 with Garnett winning MVP that season. Yet the club has seen little success since, earning one postseason berth in the 16 years that followed, a 2018 first-round loss to the Rockets.
That’s led to a significant drop in attendance with the Timberwolves averaging the fewest fans in 2020 (15,066) and the second-worst capacity percentage (79.4 percent) ahead of just the Detroit Pistons.
With recent acquisitions D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley joining Karl-Anthony Towns, Jarrett Culver and Josh Okogie, the club features a young core that figures to grow under head coach Ryan Saunders.
Saunders is the son of the late Flip Saunders, who coached the Garnett-led Wolves teams of the mid-90s and early 2000s to the franchise’s longest run of sustained success.
Taylor appears to have a number of bids to consider and gave no timeline for a deal to close.
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