The Wilpon family is currently in the midst of selling the New York Mets. It has been quite the affair, with big brand names attached and many billions of dollars being thrown around. A sports team does not go up for sale terribly often, so the sports world watches these types of transactions with great interest.
It appears the Minnesota Timberwolves may be the next franchise to hit the market. Sportico reports owner Glen Taylor has hired the proper people to explore a sale of his team, and reportedly an offer has already been made. More via Sportico:
Billionaire owner Glen Taylor has retained The Raine Group to sell the franchise he’s owned since 1995, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter. There are several parties who have bid on the team, two of the people said. A deal could be completed within a month, one of the people said. Taylor, who bought the team for about $88 million, didn’t want a public auction and instead opted to ask Raine to find a buyer without the usual fanfare that accompanies a franchise sale, said the people, who were granted anonymity because the matter is private. The sale isn’t related to financial hardship created by the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the people said.
As noted above, Taylor has owned the team for two and a half decades now, overseeing the best years of the franchise with Kevin Garnett and then Kevin Love before both of those stars left town and Karl-Anthony Towns showed up. There are worse owners in sports, but there are also definitely better ones. Or at least one who isn't called a "snake motherf**ker" by Kevin Garnett.
While it seems we won't get the same public spectacle that is the Mets sale, it will still be worth keeping an eye on. Changing owners can change an entire team's identity and culture. Taylor has never managed to put together a consistently successful squad in the Twin Cities, so fans will likely welcome the change.
The latest financial reports surrounding the Mets was a $2 billion bid for the team that came with a $2 billion offer for SNY by Steve Cohen. After Steve Ballmer bought the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion a few years back, it seems logical to expect the Wolves to land somewhere around there. It's hard to say how much the pandemic might affect a potential sale, but very rich people have that kind of money laying around even in the midst of a financial crisis, so I don't think we'll see a bargain-bin deal.
What will really be worth watching is if Garnett gets involved with the bidding. He has been as open about his love for Minnesota as he has about his strong distaste for Taylor. He made enough money and probably knows enough of the right people to put a strong ownership group together. I would consider him a strong contender to be name-dropped at some point before the sale, but whether Taylor will sell to him is the big question. Their relationship is obviously nonexistent. Will either party be willing to put it behind them for the sake of preposterously large sums of money? Only time will tell, but from the Sportico report, that time may come sooner than we think.
UPDATE: I should have placed my bets before publishing this.