Saturday May 25th, 2024 10:49AM

Timberwolves dispute between Taylor and Lore, Rodriguez over ownership moves to mediation

By The Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves ownership dispute is moving into mediation.

The first session toward determining whether Glen Taylor will remain controlling owner or cede to Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez has been scheduled for May 1, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the details were not being publicized. ESPN first reported the news.

The 82-year-old Taylor announced March 28 that he was exercising his right to pull out of the last part of the unusually structured deal because Lore and Rodriguez did not meet the deadline for the final payment — about $600 million — that was to transfer an additional 40% stake of the club.

Lore and Rodriguez vehemently disagreed. The pair said they were waiting on NBA approval for the paperwork they'd submitted by the March 27 deadline that entitled them, per the contract, to a 90-day extension. They accused Taylor of simply having seller's remorse because the value of the Timberwolves has increased since the agreement, mirroring a continued spike in NBA revenues.

Taylor acknowledged his change of heart last month but said that was because of the good vibes around the organization during a 56-26 season that went down as the second-best in franchise history.

"We’ve got a really good team, we’ve got a lot of good things going for us, I enjoy it and I’m healthy enough to do this,” Taylor said in an interview with the AP after his announcement. “I don’t need the money, so I think I’ll just keep running it and enjoy it. I like my coach. I like my staff. This way everybody gets to keep their jobs, and I’ll be happy.”

Commissioner Adam Silver said earlier this month that the league likely would not have a reason to intervene in the dispute.

Lore, an e-commerce entrepreneur, and Rodriguez, the former Major League Baseball star, struck an agreement with Taylor in 2021 to buy the Timberwolves and the Minnesota Lynx WNBA franchise for $1.5 billion. Taylor, who bought the team in 1994 for $88 million, set up the deal in phases so he could serve as a mentor of sorts to the newcomers as they learned the league, the organization and the Twin Cities community. Lore and Rodriguez together own 36% of the club.

Silver said the dispute might prompt the NBA to change its rules around such transactions so as to avoid future conflicts.

Taylor, Lore and Rodriguez were seen speaking cordially Saturday in a side hallway at Target Center after Minnesota beat Phoenix in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series.

Taylor sat next to his wife in their usual seats Tuesday next to the Timberwolves bench for Game 2. Lore and Rodriguez were seated with their guests directly across the court.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA

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