SBD/23/Franchises

WOLVES SALE MIGHT NOT BE COMPLETED BY NBA TARGET DATE

     The sale of the Timberwolves "is on the verge of unraveling
because negotiations on a Target Center lease have hit 'huge
hurdles.'"  Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chair Henry
Savelkoul said that he has "a significant fear" that a lease
agreement between businessman Glen Taylor and the commission will
not be worked out by October 5 -- when the NBA is set to approve
the sale.  Savelkoul, who for a year has "steered a plan to
publicly" buy the Target Center from Marv Wolfenson and Harvey
Ratner, made his comments after a team of bond lawyers told him
and Taylor's representatives that their proposed lease includes
legal flaws with "deal-breaking tax implications."  Taylor is
also seeking to place a limit on a ticket surcharge mandated by
the legislation that authorized the public buyout of the Target
Center.  The legislation authorized a $42M buyout paid for by
ticket taxes and $750,000/year for 15 years.  NBA Commissioner
David Stern was optimistic:  "It's the normal ups and downs of a
deal that's destined to get done."  Wolfenson and Ratner agreed
to sell the Wolves for $88.5M, but Taylor might not buy the team
if a lease deal is not worked out.  "One remote solution, Taylor
could buy Target Center."  Taylor: "Nothing is out of the
question for me" (Jay Weiner, Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/22).
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