Sports Headliners interviewed Glen Taylor about various subjects including why he started the Minnesota Lynx, the Karl-Anthony Towns trade rumors and whether he incentivized president of basketball operations Tim Connelly to stay with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Lynx celebrated the franchise’s 25 seasons last weekend at two games in Minneapolis. Taylor, who founded the expansion franchise in 1998, has seen the highs and lows including four WNBA championships. Women’s basketball has increased in popularity in the new millennium and justified Taylor’s commitment to the league and his franchise.
“I did it (started the Lynx) because I just thought Minnesota was a leader in women’s issues, and certainly this was one area that I could control and wanted to get involved in. To me it was natural that we do it,“ Taylor said recently.
The Mankato-based billionaire kept a commitment to the Lynx with his head, heart and pocketbook. There have been championship seasons when the franchise made money, but Taylor said there were “more years that we lost a million dollars.”
Taylor recognized the Lynx as a startup business and has been willing to accept the financial losses. “I never really felt I wanted to get rid of it,” he said.
It’s been satisfying for Taylor and his wife Becky to not only have championship teams, but become acquainted with staff and players. “Becky and I are pretty close to all the people so it becomes a friendship,” he said.
A longtime attendee at home games of both the Lynx and Wolves, Taylor sometimes talks like the fan he is. He gets frustrated when his teams have defensive lapses and make turnovers. “When they play good, you’re so proud and happy but when they play poorly you know that they could do better, and it’s disappointing.”
Since the Wolves season ended in April with a first-round loss to the Nuggets rumors have persisted Towns will be traded. A two-time All-NBA player, he could potentially be traded for future first and second round draft picks and bolster Minnesota’s minimal inventory for upcoming drafts.
“We’re not looking (to trade Towns),” Taylor said. “We’re not trying to do it.”
Taylor added this regarding receptivity to a Towns trade discussion: “If somebody came…and offered you something ridiculous, but that’s not part of our plan.”
The plan, the owner said, is “basically to stay with the same guys we have.” That means keeping the “Twin Towers” of 7-foot forward-center Towns and 7-1 center Rudy Gobert, plus star shooting guard Anthony Edwards, defensive forward whiz Jaden McDaniels and veteran point guard Mike Conley.
Towns and Gobert already have deals paying them more than $30 million per season and in the near future Edwards, 21, and McDaniels, 22, will carry big price tags too. Taylor didn’t offer specifics on retaining that core of four but the subject has been addressed internally with the owner, Connelly and coach Chris Finch.
“I mean that’s one of the things we talked (about) with Tim and Chris when they were here. We’ve gone over all of that, what are our options and how we might do it and stuff like that. So, I think we’re ready.”
Taylor told Sports Headliners last month Connelly had contacted him and made it clear he wasn’t leaving to head the basketball operations with the Wizards, the organization that gave him his start in the NBA. A year ago the Wolves brought Connelly to Minneapolis with a lucrative contract and Taylor said no further incentive was provided for him to keep his commitment here.
When Connelly was making the front office player personnel decisions for the Nuggets from 2013 to 2022, he acquired foundational players Nikola Jovic and Jamal Murray who led the team to its first ever NBA championship last night. The Wolves had competitive moments in their playoff series against the Nuggets who eliminated Minnesota in five games. The Wolves managed one win but lost three games by a combined 21 points. Taylor said the series performance by his team leaves him feeling “fairly good about” next season.
The Nuggets played a Heat team in the NBA Finals partially built by the genius of president Pat Riley, defeating Miami 4-1 in the best of seven series. His ability to judge talent is evidenced by seven players on the Heat roster who were undrafted by NBA teams.
Taylor refers to Riley as a “guru” in judging talent and understanding how to run a team. The two men have communicated in the past, but Taylor wouldn’t report what he learned from Riley who has been a leader of great teams with the Lakers, Knicks and Heat.
“I talked to him and he’s really interesting because he’s kind of the type of guy that’s willing to help you, even though I am…his competition,” Taylor said.
Taylor is transitioning from majority owner of the Wolves and Lynx to having a minority stake. New owners Mar Lore and Alex Rodriguez are expected to address the playing home of the teams, Target Center. The facility opened in 1990 and although it has since been renovated, the building will be a future issue. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has made it clear expectations are high for facilities of all 30 league teams.
“I just think that as everybody would know, that sometime in the future we as the team, or the city, are going to have to face that issue,” Taylor said.
Taylor has national and international businesses in varied fields. His career and successes are being chronicled in a new video being produced internally for employee audiences.Comments Welcome