May 4, 2012, 8:28 PM EDT
Another small-market NBA team is on the market, but this owner is working to find a successor who will keep the team in place, not start another controversy about moving.
Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor told the Associated Press that he is looking for a successor, not to just sell the team to the highest bidder.
Taylor told The Associated Press on Friday that he is looking to add a minority partner who could buy a part of the team that includes an option to buy Taylor out after observing the day-to-day operations of running a professional sports team.
Taylor said he has yet to speak to any specific candidates, but made it clear that one of the biggest priorities for him will be a commitment to keeping the Timberwolves in Minnesota.
“I could find somebody to buy the team. That’s not my problem,” Taylor said at his office at Taylor Corp., a privately held printing and marketing giant. “I have to find someone that’s committed to here. It’s always best if it would be a Minnesotan. I’m telling you I don’t know that’s the way it’s going to work out. I haven’t had a lot of Minnesotans step up.”
The timing of this is no accident — next week the Minnesota legislature is set to vote on a plan for renovations and upgrades to the publicly owned Target Center. The amenities include new restaurants, high-end seating and some of the other key things that drive revenue for teams now. We all know the real fans are in the cheap seats, but that’s not where teams get the majority of their income anymore.
Taylor is not very subtle with his message — there are a host of people willing to pay for a team they can move to San Jose or Seattle or other cities out there. If we don’t get this renovation and a next owner, I don’t know what is going to happen.
Taylor does not want to just sell the team to anyone. Former senators are not the kind of people to generally sell out their state. And he has no plans to completely sell in the near future. But Minnesota has been put on notice.