SBD/May 6, 2013/Franchises

T'Wolves Owner Taylor Takes Team Off Market, Attempts Buyout Of Limited Partners

Taylor expects about half of his 12 limited partners to accept the buyout
T'Wolves Owner Glen Taylor on Friday said he developed a case of "seller's remorse" and has decided to not sell most of his stake in the team, according to Bruce Brothers of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. Taylor speaking at the press conference for new T'Wolves' President of Basketball Operations and minority owner Flip Saunders, said, "We're going to go the opposite direction. Rather than me having a smaller interest in the team, it would be a larger interest in the team." Taylor added that he has "offered to buy out his 12 limited partners ... and expects about half of them to take him up on the offer." Taylor: "They'll make a healthy reward on their investment into the Timberwolves." While adding Saunders as part-owner, Taylor said that he will "continue to search for others 'that live in Minnesota' to come in as limited partners" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/4). In Minneapolis, Chip Scoggins noted 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." 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." Taylor said of ensuring the T'Wolves remain in Minnesota after his time as owner, “I think you’ll see the answer to that in a couple of weeks." Scoggins wrote 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 is "incredibly loyal to employees -- sometimes to a fault -- which creates a perception that top decision makers escape accountability in difficult times." But Taylor "made a good decision in bringing Saunders back" (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 5/4).

SUCCESSION PLANS: In St. Paul, Charley Walters reported there are "no plans" for Saunders to succeed Taylor as majority owner. Taylor said, "I think that my responsibility as the general partner is the money part. I think his part of the partnership is his knowledge, understanding of the league." Walters noted a "handful of the Timberwolves' limited partners who invested about $1 million each" with Taylor and "want to get out for various reasons, including estate planning, can expect a return of about $5 million" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/4). Taylor on Friday said that he has "made some mistakes in the past." He said, "Perhaps supporting Flip leaving our organization as coach was one of those things I did wrong" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/4).

OUT WITH THE NEW, IN WITH THE OLD: In Minneapolis, Jerry Zgoda wrote Saunders "shuffled around the question when asked if he is done with coaching now that he is leaving an ESPN commentary job for an executive’s job." With Saunders, Taylor "brought back a guy he now regrets firing in 2005, a guy who, while coaching in the CBA, was one of the first people to contact Taylor looking for a job when he bought the team in 1994." Saunders on Friday "bought a piece of the franchise himself because he said he believes in Taylor as well as the financial future of the NBA, the team and the city" (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 5/4). Also in Minneapolis, Patrick Reusse wrote the last nine years have "provided the longest stretch of futility ever experienced by a major league sports team in Minnesota." Reusse: "Much of it has been management, and with the Timberwolves, there is always the added element of lousy luck." If coach Rick Adelman stays and Taylor is "able to unite these two basketball brains for the next three or four years, the owner, now 72, will have found the best combination of decision-makers in the mostly sad history of Minnesota’s second NBA franchise" (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 5/5).
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