<
>

Alex Rodriguez group to purchase Minnesota Timberwolves for $1.5 billion, sources say

play
Anthony Edwards on A-Rod: 'I don't know who that is' (0:29)

Timberwolves rookie Anthony Edwards says he isn't a baseball fan and hadn't heard of Alex Rodriguez prior to his deal to become part-owner of the franchise. (0:29)

Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has agreed to sell the team to former baseball star Alex Rodriguez and e-commerce mogul Marc Lore.

Rodriguez and Lore will take over the Timberwolves and the WNBA's Lynx for $1.5 billion, sources told ESPN's Brian Windhorst, with the deal expected to close around July 1.

"Glen Taylor has reached an agreement with Marc Lore & Alex Rodriguez regarding the sale and future ownership of the Wolves & Lynx," the Timberwolves said in a statement Friday. "The transaction will close following league approval beginning the transition of ownership and a new chapter."

The two sides had entered an exclusive 30-day negotiating window April 10 that expired without an agreement, though the sides continued to negotiate in good faith, sources previously told Windhorst. Taylor previously said a deal was contingent on Lore and Rodriguez keeping the team in Minnesota. The team has a lease at the Target Center through 2035, but the buyout is $50 million.

Lore and Rodriguez are 50-50 partners. They tried to buy the New York Mets last year but were beaten out for the Major League Baseball club by hedge fund manager Steve Cohen.

Any sale of an NBA club must be approved by the league's board of governors. The Timberwolves would become the second NBA franchise sold this season. Gail Miller and her family struck an agreement in October to sell the Utah Jazz to Ryan Smith, a deal that was finalized after board of governors' approval in December.

Taylor, 80, a lifelong Minnesotan who bought the Timberwolves in 1994 for $88 million to save them from moving to New Orleans, has said he will continue to run the club for two more seasons until a handover in 2023.

"They've asked that I would be there for any decisions that would need to be made. I would enjoy that. I love teaching people," Taylor said in an interview last month. "These are a couple of very bright guys, and I think it could be helpful to the club and I think I could be helpful to them so that they feel confident once they take over 100%."

The sale also includes the G League's Iowa Wolves and T-Wolves Gaming.

Lore and Rodriguez met with Timberwolves personnel and toured team facilities in Minneapolis last month.

Rodriguez, 45, hit 696 home runs over 22 major league seasons with the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers. His last season on the field was 2016, marking the end of career that was tainted by performance-enhancing drug use he later admitted to. Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 season for violating MLB policy.

Lore, 49, became Walmart's e-commerce chief in 2016, when the retail giant bought his Jet.com startup in an attempt to boost online business. Lore notified Walmart on Jan. 31 of his intent to leave the company. He will continue to serve in a consulting role as a strategic adviser through September.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.