MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has been searching for several years for an investor who would be willing to purchase a minority share of the team and let Taylor continue to run the show for a few more years before eventually taking over as the majority stakeholder.
Taylor discovered that most of those who were interested in buying the Wolves wanted to a majority share right away.
But as the NBA's popularity, and the value of the league's franchises, has skyrocketed, several potential investors have come forward who are interested in putting together the kind of succession plan Taylor had envisioned, a person with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press on Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for all parties involved.
Taylor has had conversations in recent weeks with a handful of bidders, including Stephen Kaplan, a minority owner with the Memphis Grizzlies who tried to buy the Atlanta Hawks last year. Yahoo! Sports first reported Kaplan's interest. The person with knowledge of the talks told the AP that discussions are in the very early stages with several suitors.
There is no timetable for a deal to be in place, and it remains unclear how any of the discussions would affect star forward Kevin Garnett's stated desire to become a Timberwolves owner.
Garnett is playing his 21st season and made a celebrated return to Minnesota during a midseason trade last February. From the moment of his return, he has said that he hopes to one day be an owner, and he reiterated that desire on media day before the season.
"That's the plan," Garnett said.
Garnett, of course, cannot become an owner until his playing career ends. He is in the first season of a two-year deal that he signed last summer and has always said he will retire when his body tells him it is time to do so.
Kaplan would have to divest himself from the Grizzlies franchise before he could come on as a minority partner in Minnesota, and a deal for a minority share of the team would not guarantee that he would get the team when Taylor does decide to move on.
One thing Taylor has made clear to any potential investor since he first put the franchise on the market three years ago is that he wants the Timberwolves to remain in Minnesota.
Renovations on Target Center are scheduled to begin next spring, and the project includes local government funding. As part of that agreement with the City of Minneapolis, the Timberwolves extended their lease at the building through 2032, ensuring the franchise's long-term future in the Twin Cities.