Glen Taylor, the billionaire businessman and former Minnesota state senator, announced plans to explore the sale of the Timberwolves Tuesday, with the team’s most decorated player quickly emerged as an interested bidder.
The Timberwolves, who entered the NBA as an expansion franchise in 1989, have been under the 79-year-old Taylor’s majority control since 1994. Kevin Garnett, a member of the 2020 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class who spent 14 seasons with the Timberwolves, wrote on Instagram that he was part of an investment group interested in acquiring the team.
“I’m one of the groups trying,” Garnett wrote. “[Lord please] let my group get this.”
Taylor, who was born and raised in Minnesota, amassed his fortune as the head of a global printing company based in the state. Those deep ties, Taylor told The Athletic, have lead him to only consider bidders committed to keeping the franchise in Minneapolis.
The Timberwolves under Taylor have suffered through long bouts of frustration, including 14 losing seasons in the past 15 years. Despite that track record, Taylor is seeking more than $1 billion for the team after Forbes valued the organization at $1.375 billion in February. The Post Bulletin reported in 1994 that Taylor paid “nearly $90 million” for the franchise.
Garnett, 44, made 10 all-star teams with the Timberwolves, leading them to their only conference finals trip in 2004. He returned to the franchise in 2015, serving as a mentor to franchise big man Karl-Anthony Towns and potentially positioning himself for a career with the organization, possibly as a minority owner, upon his retirement.
But Flip Saunders, the former coach and executive who brought Garnett back to Minnesota died suddenly after battling cancer in 2015. The relationship between Garnett and Taylor dissolved, with Garnett referring to Taylor as a “snake” in an April interview and saying that “when Flip died, everything went with him.” Nevertheless, Garnett remained complimentary of Minnesota and the Timberwolves fan base.
Taylor, meanwhile, issued a statement hailing Garnett upon his selection to the Hall of Fame in April.
“From the day we drafted [Garnett] in 1995, we knew there was something special about him that Minnesota had never experienced before,” Taylor said. “I’ve watched Kevin grow on and off the court and will forever be grateful for his contributions to the Timberwolves organization. He was beloved by our fans in a way that only few players experience.”
Over the past decade, Taylor has changed course with his front office numerous times before ultimately deciding on a youth movement under team president Gersson Rosas and Coach Ryan Saunders, Flip Saunders’s son. After a flurry of trade deadline moves, the Timberwolves had assembled one of the league’s youngest rosters. The franchise also executed a round of layoffs in June during the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.