Triple MLB MVP Alex Rodriguez and e-commerce mogul Marc Lore have signed a letter of intent with Glen Taylor and are negotiating to succeed him as owners of the Minnesota Timberwolves, sources said. Athletic.
Rodriguez and Lore signed the documents on Saturday and now have an exclusive 30-day negotiating window to try to finalize a deal with Taylor. If finished, it would infuse the Timberwolves with megawatt star power. It would also give Taylor the partners he has long sought to carry the franchise into in the future as he prepares to retire from the team he has owned for 27 years. The succession plan under discussion, sources say, would call Rodriguez and Lore – two close friends who are 50-50 partners in the arrangement – to join Taylor’s ownership group as sponsors for two and a half years. , when Taylor would then do so. step aside and pass the reins to the new majority partners.
For a team that languishes with the worst record in the NBA, has a playoff appearance since 2004 and has seen apathy take hold among fans, a new ownership structure with Rodriguez and Lore in premier roles plan would generate much needed energy as she endures another tough season on the court. It would also bring a vibrant and diverse flavor to the league-owned stable, sprinkling a touch of glamor on a franchise that has rarely been in the limelight.
While the signed letter of intent does not guarantee a deal will be made, it puts Rodriguez and Lore in the driver’s seat. The two sides have already agreed on some of the major elements of a potential deal, including a $ 1.5 billion valuation for the franchise, sources said. Now they will spend the next month going over the intricacies of trading. If a purchase agreement were made, Lore and Rodriguez would have to be approved by the NBA board of governors before officially joining the organization.
The two friends met face-to-face with Taylor and his wife, Becky, at the couple’s home in Naples, Fla. This week in a process that quickly shifted from introductions to negotiation.
In many ways, this arrangement would give Taylor what he wanted and the organization what it needs.
Taylor has had the team in the market several times over the years, but has never been able to pull the trigger by abandoning a franchise he bought in 1994 for $ 88 million. Finding a group that is committed to keeping the team in Minnesota has long been a priority. Another of his preferences has been to recruit new partners in a limited short-term role so that he can serve as a mentor of sorts and help make the transition as smooth as possible. Taylor takes great pride in his experience at the top of the Timberwolves and the relationships he has had over the years throughout the league, including with other owners and Commissioner Adam Silver. His continued presence would help Lore and Rodriguez acclimate to a new league and a new business early on.
It’s definitely an emotional moment for Taylor, who loves being the owner of the Timberwolves. He prevented the team from moving to New Orleans in 1994 when he came out of nowhere to buy the team from distressed owners Harvey Ratner and Marv Wolfenson and views the team as a public trust, a gift from his share in the basketball community. -loving people in the Twin Cities and beyond. He wants this gift to stand the test of time long after he’s gone.
As he nears his 80th birthday on April 20, Taylor searches for a definitive path for the franchise he holds dear. There is no one in his family who is considering taking over the team, so he is looking for one or more young successors who he believes can take care of the team and those involved.
“I just think over time I’m more inclined to say that I should probably get my house in order here,” Taylor said. Athletic in July.
Taylor has always valued personal relationships in her business relationships, and it is no different. Lore and Rodriguez share a close bond and want to continue the family-like atmosphere that Taylor has always enjoyed, and the intimate conversations that have been shared this week have helped the Taylors feel comfortable moving this process forward.
In Rodriguez and Lore, Taylor found two ambitious entrepreneurs with big visions for the franchise. Wolves are 13-40 this season, sacked coach Ryan Saunders in February and took their moguls for the awkward transition with Chris Finch. They will lose their first-round pick in the next draft if they don’t finish in the top three in the lottery and fans have turned away from the squad as they sank in the standings.
There are also things to encourage. No.1 pick Anthony Edwards has grown strong throughout the season. Jaden McDaniels looks like a flight to the 28th pick. Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell are finally healthy at the same time and Finch has shown promise in his first job as NBA head coach.
Now the Timberwolves could be on the verge of adding a pair of fresh voices and perspectives to the ownership group with big plans for the future.
Rodriguez, born in New York, was a star of the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and New York Yankees. He retired in 2016 and has spent the past five years becoming a multi-faceted entrepreneur and media star. He is considered one of the game’s most insightful and natural baseball analysts in his work for ESPN, has been a recurring guest judge on ABC’s “Shark Tank” and has a growing list of successful investments in the game. businesses ranging from fitness gyms to coconut water. and e-sports. Two of its biggest investments to date have been in Fanatics and the goPuff digital delivery service. He is also a co-founder, partner and board member of J-Lo Beauty, which launched with his fiancee Jennifer Lopez in January.
Rodriguez’s experience as a superstar player would give him instant credibility with players and coaches and his relationship with Lopez would bring worldwide recognition to a franchise that could use him.
Lore, 49, began building his empire with Quidsi, a company identified primarily with Diapers.com, which sold to Amazon for $ 545 million in 2011. He founded Jet.com, an e-commerce site, in 2014 and it was acquired by Walmart for $ 3.3 billion in 2016. Lore was previously CEO of Walmart US eCommerce, presiding over a vast expansion of the retail giant’s online business that has helped him to become the second online retailer behind Amazon.
Lore has a reputation for her innovative and voracious entrepreneurial spirit and recently detailed a vision for building “a city of the future” with a new economic structure in an interview with CNBC. Since moving away from Walmart, Lore has helped develop and advise several other businesses.
Lore and Taylor were both track athletes in their youth, and now Taylor is seriously considering handing over one of his most treasured possessions.
Rodriguez and Lore have been business partners for years. Through their halo company, VCP, they recently floated Archer Aviation, a company that designs and builds fully electric airplanes that can take off and land vertically.
But more than business partners, Lore and A-Rod see each other as closest friends. They tried to buy the New York Mets, which were eventually sold to Steve Cohen, last year. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal in January, Lore made his intentions clear.
“I’m probably going to buy a sports team,” Lore said.
Just four months later, Lore and Rodriguez appear to be on their doorstep, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Taylor has had exclusive deals with other bands in the past, including as recently as last summer. Each time, Taylor ultimately decided that he wasn’t ready to sell the team just yet.
Several other groups have also inquired and met with Taylor about the purchase of the team over the past six months, but negotiations have been complicated by the pandemic, which has caused franchise revenues to plummet. being largely closed to fans for a year.
Some would say that Taylor was undecided, and several groups walked away from negotiations with him, believing he never really wanted to sell in the first place. Taylor looks like he’s just selective, taking his time to find the right partners to take over the team he cares about so much.
In Lore and Rodriguez, he now finds himself negotiating with a young and dynamic group with a solid background in sports, business and entertainment and the name recognition that could put eyeballs on a team so often overlooked.
(Photo: John Lamparski / Getty Images)