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Glen Taylor: Nothing Certain on Sale

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August 17, 2020

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In an exclusive interview with Sports Headliners, Timberwolves and Lynx owner Glen Taylor said it’s not definite he will sell the franchises.  Reports earlier this summer had the 79-year-old Mankato billionaire pursuing a sale of his longtime franchises for $1.2 billon.

When asked whether he anticipated a sale soon or not happening for an extended period, he said: “I don’t really know the answer to that right now.  We have opened it up to see if people would be interested. At this point we’re trying to see what value would they put on it, and we haven’t finished that. We’re just getting that information together. …We have some people that said they are interested.”

Although not likely, Taylor said it’s possible a sale of the NBA Timberwolves would not include the WNBA Lynx.  Presently, one company runs the two franchises, with some employees working for both the Wolves and Lynx.

“So that’s the most logical way (of selling),” Taylor said. “If we find a buyer I guess we’ll just have to sit down with that buyer and see what their interest is.  I am open to almost anything.”

Taylor deserves credit for making the Wolves and Lynx fixtures in the state’s sports and entertainment scene.  In the mid-1990’s original Wolves owners Harvey Ratner and Marv Wolfenson nearly completed a deal to relocate the franchise to New Orleans.  Taylor stepped in and saved the franchise for Minnesota, purchasing the team for a reported $90 million.

In 1999 the upstart WNBA was bleeding money as it pioneered opportunities for women on the court and in other basketball positions.  Taylor, a socially conscious entrepreneur, became owner of the Lynx expansion franchise and the team joined the Wolves in playing at Target Center.

“It isn’t like I thought about it (a lot),” Taylor said.  “It just seemed like the right thing to do (women’s pro basketball).

“I am more concerned why more (NBA owners)…why they don’t do it.  There is nothing wrong with taking some of the money you’ve made on the NBA…putting some of it back into the WNBA.  It isn’t going to make anybody broke, or anything like that.”

Taylor said he doesn’t know what the dollar value of the Lynx is, and there are few estimates available about such figures for WNBA franchises.  A $15 to $30 million per team value is a guess but whatever the number it’s a long way from the billions that NBA franchises command.

Glen Taylor

Taylor acknowledged there were years when his franchise lost a “couple million dollars.”  But the Lynx has been one of the WNBA bluebloods, winning four league titles with the most recent in 2017, and the owner said championship years had the franchise making about $1 million.

It’s been satisfying to Taylor watching the success of the Lynx on the court but it’s also been rewarding knowing how the WNBA has created opportunities that didn’t previously exist for women.  The league is a model for girls and young women to consider sports careers not only playing but in other areas such as coaching, administration and training.

NBA teams are now hiring women for key positions including assistant coaching.  Taylor said that’s a role his Lynx head coach, Cheryl Reeve, could fill.  She has coached the Lynx to all its championship success and also excelled in identifying personnel.

Worth Noting

In its August 15 football issue Sports Illustrated predicts the Minnesota Vikings will finish the 2020 season with an 8-8 record, just behind the 9-7 Green Bay Packers in the NFC North Division. In a best case scenario the magazine says Mike Zimmer turns in his best coaching job revamping the secondary, while quarterback Kirk Cousins silences doubters.

Worst case? The heavy load of personnel changes entering the season proves too much to overcome and Cousins doesn’t measure up on an inconsistent team that must label 2020 as a rebuild.

In the same issue S.I. identifies North Dakota State redshirt sophomore quarterback Trey Lance as a potential top 10 NFL draft choice in 2021.  The former Marshall, Minnesota prep player set a Bison passing record for efficiency last season while leading the team in rushing.

Gary Trent Jr., the former Apple Valley star, is a breakout contributor this summer for his surprise Portland Trail Blazers who have qualified for the NBA playoffs that opened this week.  The 21-year-old second season shooting guard has made a big jump in playing time because of his shooting and defense.

The second annual Taste Fore The Tour raised $131,000 to support Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People, the Twin Cities’ largest food pantry. VEAP has experienced a 10-fold increase in demand due to COVID-19 but the promotion raised enough funds to provide 400,000 meals for local families.  Donations are welcome through August 31, at TasteForeTheTour.com.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

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