It appears the Wilfs won’t be getting into the basketball business, at least not yet.
After a report from ESPN surfaced Tuesday that said the Wilf family, owners of the Vikings, were serious about acquiring the Wolves from Glen Taylor, sources told the Star Tribune on Wednesday that there are no active talks between Taylor and the Wilfs.
Taylor confirmed Tuesday that he was exploring the sale of the team with the help of merchant bank Raine Group.
Raine Group and Taylor had reached out to gauge the Wilfs’ interest, and the sides had some dialogue, but it hasn’t continued. A source said the Wilfs hope the Wolves remain in Minnesota.
Taylor has been adamant about that as he considers selling the franchise he agreed to take over in 1994. A potential Wilf purchase would seemingly secure the Wolves’ place in Minnesota, but Taylor said previously any potential buyer would have to agree to keep the team here or he wouldn’t sell to that group.
Taylor indicated there was an out-of-state family further along in the process of acquiring the team than others, and Wednesday’s development suggests the Wilfs, who hail from New Jersey, aren’t that family.
Taylor also said the Lynx would likely be sold with the Wolves in any deal.
Cheryl Reeve is all too familiar with the feeling of relocating a franchise. The Lynx general manager and coach was an assistant with the Detroit Shock when the team moved to Tulsa in 2009. On Wednesday, as her team prepared for the upcoming season in Bradenton, Fla., Reeve said whatever Taylor decides to do with the team she would support.
“I told Glen I was happy for him, if this was what he thought was best for himself and the limited partners,” Reeve said. “It’s well beyond my abilities to go any further than that. We control what we can control, and Glen knows we love having him a part of this.’’
Reeve and Lynx center Sylvia Fowles were among the first people from the Wolves or Lynx to speak publicly about Taylor’s future with the teams.
Fowles said Taylor “is everything to this organization.” Reeve said he’s one of the best listeners she has met.
“I just continue to have faith in what Glen wants,” Reeve said. “I understand it’s a business deal and things could change. But, at this point, I think Glen’s involvement — and, really anybody that takes on the franchise is going to understand what they have in the Lynx as well as the Wolves. So I’m confident.’’
Though Taylor might sell both franchises together, he said many of the interested parties he has spoken with would like him to remain on board in some fashion after the sale.
Even former Timberwolves star Kevin Garnett, who has had a yearslong feud with Taylor, expressed a willingness to bury the hatchet and work with Taylor should the group Garnett has partnered with gain control of the team.
“I look forward to trying to work with him to achieve my dream,” Garnett said Tuesday on Instagram.
Garnett recently settled a lawsuit with his former accounting firm alleging it stole $77 million from him.
Taylor said he wasn’t sure which group involved in the process had partnered with Garnett.
Taylor also said Tuesday his age, 79, and the large number of businesses he owns under Taylor Corporation has made him consider selling the Wolves. Among the businesses he owns is the Star Tribune.
He said he wants the Wolves to remain in Minnesota for the good of the state.
“It’s a state asset,” Taylor said. “It’s something we have here in Minnesota that not every state has, [that] some of the other states would like to have. This state has been really good to me.”
Staff writer Kent Youngblood contributed to this report.