Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor on Friday characterized negotiations to sell a limited partnership as part of an ongoing process to transition the franchise to new ownership when he no longer can run it.
Responding to a Yahoo!Sports report that he is in serious negotiations to sell 20 percent of the team to Steve Kaplan, a Los Angeles private-equity investor and minority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, Taylor said he has had discussions Kaplan as well as a “number of other people who say they’re interested” but he has no agreement or timeline to make such a deal.
“I know Steve, he has been up here and looked at it,” said Taylor, who said others have visited Minneapolis to see Target Center and the team’s new $26 million practice facility. “To me it’s not like new news. I haven’t signed any papers with anybody yet. I continue to look forward to it. If I can find the right person, I would probably do it.”
Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune, said any prospective limited partner must guarantee the franchise will stay in Minnesota if that person or group eventually buys majority interest. At age 74, he said he is preparing for the day he’ll no longer own the franchise.
“It just seems to me if I’m a responsible owner of a team, I should go out there, find someone who is really interested, bring them in and see how it works,” Taylor said. “So if I would die or be in a position where I can’t run it, they’d be in a position to take over and make a smooth transition. I just think it’s something I owe the state because I have the ownership.”
Wolves star Kevin Garnett expressed interest in owning the team when the Wolves brought him back to the franchise that drafted him in 1995 with a trade last February with Brooklyn. Garnett confirmed that interest before this season began, but he is signed as a player through the 2016-17 season and according to league rules, cannot be both a part owner and player.
“I can’t even talk to him about it for two years,” Taylor said.
Taylor bought the team in 1994 for $88.5 million. The Milwaukee Bucks were sold for $550 million and the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion in 2014, and the Atlanta Hawks sold for $850 million in 2015.
“The people I have met with, all of them they know how to figure the price,” Taylor said.
Taylor said he is enjoying watching a young team — built around consecutive No. 1 overall draft picks Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns — grow and has no plans now to sell majority interest in the team.
But that time is coming.
Kaplan would have to sell his stake in the Grizzlies to complete a deal with Taylor, who reiterated Friday that any person or group wanting to buy part of the team must guarantee they will keep the franchise in Minnesota.
“Absolutely, those are the only people I’m talking to,” said Taylor, who said past discussions ended when the groups wanted to move the team to Seattle.
Rubio remains out
Ricky Rubio missed his second consecutive game because of a hamstring strain while Garnett played, starting the second night of back-to-back games after he rested in the same situation Tuesday. Zach LaVine started for Rubio, sliding to shooting guard when Andre Miller played.
• Wolves veteran Damjan Rudez returned to where he played his first NBA season at age 28 last season.
“It’s good to feel love and feel missed and to know people here respect me,” he said.
• Former Timberwolves forwards Chase Budinger and Glenn Robinson III came off the Pacers’ bench Friday. Budinger scored six points with five assists in 15 minutes and Robinson had 11 points and five rebounds in 21 minutes.