Alex Rodriguez, the former Yankees star, and Marc Lore, an e-commerce billionaire, officially joined the ownership group of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx on Wednesday, after their purchase of a limited stake in the teams was approved by the NBA’s board of directors.
For now, the teams will still be controlled by their longtime owner, Glen Taylor, but Rodriguez and Lore are expected to be the controlling owners in 2023. In April, a Timberwolves spokesperson said the purchase agreement “initially entails a share in a limited partnership with a means of controlling ownership of the organization.” The teams were sold for $1.5 billion, NewsMadura reports.
Taylor, 80, is from Minnesota and made his fortune in printing. He bought the Timberwolves in 1994 from an ownership group that attempted to move the team out of state. He has told the Star Tribune newspaper, which he also owns, that the sale agreement would include language to keep the teams in Minnesota, though it’s unclear if that ultimately happened.
Rodriguez and Lore were part of a group, along with Jennifer Lopez and others, that tried to buy the Mets, but Steven Cohen’s billions fell short.
Since his retirement from baseball in 2016, Rodriguez has worked as a baseball commentator for both Fox and ESPN, and has invested in a number of companies. Lore made his fortune founding Diapers.com, which was sold to Amazon, and Jet, which was sold to Walmart for $3.3 billion.
Although Rodriguez and Lore are now part of the ownership group, there is no guarantee that everything will go well.
One of the two will have to become the controlling owner, as NBA rules, like those of other major professional sports leagues in the United States, require one person to be the ultimate decision maker. Scheduled property succession can be smooth, as with the Nets, or messy, as with the Denver Broncos. And despite the inclusion of a clause that the new owners of the Seattle SuperSonics “were doing their best in good faith” to find a new arena in the Seattle area in 2006, the team became the Oklahoma City Thunder two years later, a situation in which the NBA certainly does not want to repeat with the Timberwolves, who joined the league in 1989.