Scoggins: Remorseful Taylor buys in to keeping Timberwolves

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 4, 2013 - 12:26 AM

As a billionaire businessman, Glen Taylor has bought his share of companies over the years. He’s also had proposed deals fall apart before they reached pen-to-paper finality as sellers expressed a change of heart.

“It got down to the last day and they walked out and said, ‘I can’t sell my company,’ ” Taylor said.

That’s essentially what Taylor decided with his basketball franchise, minus any 11th-hour dramatics. On May 4 last year, Taylor disclosed that he wanted to sell the Timberwolves in a transitional process. On Friday, Taylor announced he’s turning the “opposite direction” and taking his team off the market with the hope of purchasing a larger interest in the operation.

What happened?

“I had seller’s remorse,” he said.

Taylor revealed his about-face during Flip Saunders’ introductory news conference as team president of basketball operations and minority owner. The two men sat together on a podium inside Target Center, the former coach returning home and the 72-year-old owner invigorated by the prospect of maintaining majority control of a team he’s owned since 1995.

Not only is Taylor not selling the team, he also has offered to buy out his 12 minority owners. Taylor said he expects half will take the buyout. Though he declined to provide too many specifics, Taylor said it would cost “less than $100 million” to buy out all of his limited partners. At the same time, he indicated that he’d like to find new limited partners with Minnesota ties.

As for what steps he can take to ensure the Wolves remain in Minnesota after he’s gone, Taylor offered a sly response.

“I think you’ll see the answer to that in a couple of weeks,” he said.

Taylor’s ledger as owner includes a mixed bag of good, bad and downright bizarre. He has displayed a willingness to spend money aggressively, but he also can be tightfisted at times. He’s incredibly loyal to employees — sometimes to a fault — which creates a perception that top decisionmakers escape accountability in difficult times.

By no means is Taylor a perfect owner. He’s made mistakes that have impacted his organization severely, and his long-leash approach has fostered an atmosphere of complacency. Long-suffering Wolves fans might cringe over Taylor’s reluctance to sell, and that reaction is understandable.

However, Taylor made a good decision in bringing Saunders back in an executive role to work side-by-side with a Hall of Fame coach in Rick Adelman. Those two men know what they’re doing. And Taylor sounds genuinely committed to building a winner after years of heartache, missteps and rumors that he’s lost obscene amounts of money, some speculating as much as $25 million in one season.

“All of a sudden I realized, ‘Geez, what if I do sell this team?’ ” he said. “I like coming here watching the games. I like being involved in this.”

The final straw came about a month ago during a meeting with Saunders about an ownership sell. As Taylor talked about his team and his optimism for the future, Saunders asked why he’s selling the team.

“He said to me, ‘Are you really interested in selling the team? You don’t act like it,’ ” Taylor said. “I said, ‘No, I’m not.’ ”

A confluence of factors led him to that point. Taylor began the exploratory process of selling the team last spring, knowing he’s not getting any younger and that he needs an eventual exit strategy or plan in the event he died unexpectedly. He did the same thing with all his companies.

Taylor made two things clear from the outset: He wanted to phase out gradually as majority owner, and he would not sell to anyone who intended to move the Wolves out of Minnesota.

A handful of prospective groups approached him, none with Minnesota roots. Some wanted to move the team or take control immediately. A few offered to keep the team here but made lowball offers.

At the same time, Taylor sees opportunities to grow the value of his franchise, including a new collective bargaining agreement that’s small-market friendly and an upcoming TV contract for the NBA. Taylor also said he’s “very positive” that a $100 million renovation to Target Center will begin eventually.

“Let’s just say, being a good businessman, I think someday it will be figured out [that] when Glen Taylor didn’t sell his team in 2013 and he kept it until 2023, that he made a lot of money,” Taylor noted. “Most of that money is going to go to good causes. It’s not going to Glen Taylor or his family. It’s going to good causes in Minnesota.”

 

Chip Scoggins • ascoggins@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 8 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 FINAL
Minnesota 3
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 105
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Orlando 100
Cleveland 120 FINAL
Toronto 112
Utah 84 FINAL
Boston 85
Charlotte 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Denver 100 FINAL
Minnesota 85
Detroit 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
LA Lakers 94 FINAL
Miami 100
Philadelphia 118 FINAL
Oklahoma City 123
Memphis 102 FINAL
Houston 100
Sacramento 85 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
Golden State 102
Portland 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Ottawa 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 2
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Colorado 3
Montreal 1 FINAL
Anaheim 3
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
Maine 66 FINAL
Albany 83
Duquesne 81 FINAL
Fordham 66
George Washington 67 FINAL
George Mason 51
Tennessee 78 FINAL
LSU 63
Notre Dame 71 FINAL
Louisville 59
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Morehead State 79
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Mount St Marys 58
Hartford 63 FINAL
New Hampshire 67
Wagner 68 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Long Island 70 FINAL
St Francis-NY 79
La Salle 50 FINAL
Saint Josephs 55
Providence 79 FINAL
Seton Hall 66
UCF 45 FINAL
South Florida 74
Binghamton 57 FINAL
Stony Brook 62
UMBC 39 FINAL
Vermont 66
Sacred Heart 85 FINAL
Bryant 91
Richmond 56 FINAL
Massachusetts 53
Wake Forest 51 FINAL
Duke 94
Purdue 66 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Miami-Florida 67 FINAL
Pittsburgh 63
St Bonaventure 64 FINAL
Saint Louis 48
New Mexico St 69 FINAL
TX-Pan American 48
Houston 68 FINAL
Tulane 63
Howard 62 FINAL
NJIT 71
TCU 70 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
Tulsa 47
USC 74 FINAL
UCLA 85
Miss State 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Utah State 53 FINAL
Wyoming 76
St Johns 67 FINAL
Marquette 51
SIU Edwardsville 66 FINAL
Eastern Ill 78
Air Force 66 FINAL
Fresno State 68
Nebraska 57 FINAL
Illinois 69
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Nevada 62
Boise State 68 FINAL
San Jose St 51
San Diego St 60 FINAL
UNLV 58
Oregon 65 FINAL
Oregon State 62
UC Santa Barbara 89 2nd Half 0:55
Hawaii 80
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Davidson 63 FINAL
La Salle 74
Loyola-Maryland 46 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Boston U 48 FINAL
Colgate 58
Coll of Charleston 58 FINAL
James Madison 107
Delaware 76 FINAL
Elon 77
Drexel 58 FINAL
Northeastern 42
Hofstra 75 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 76
Towson 56 FINAL
William & Mary 68
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Akron 67
Ball State 85 FINAL
Central Michigan 69
Buffalo 55 FINAL
Bowling Green 47
Western Mich 65 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 74
Ohio U 69 FINAL
Kent State 56
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 73
Illinois-Chicago 54 FINAL
Wright State 74
Alabama 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Detroit 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 56
Purdue 58 FINAL
Wisconsin 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close