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Wolves Owners Envision New Arena


Target Center opened in 1990 and although it has since been remodeled, the downtown Minneapolis facility is the oldest home to an NBA team except for iconic Madison Square Garden in New York where the Knicks play. Although nothing is imminent, Minnesota Timberwolves owners Glen Taylor and Marc Lore foresee a new arena eventually being built in Minnesota.

Taylor spoke to the media yesterday at a news conference introducing limited partners Lore and Alex Rodriguez, the baseball great turned businessman. Lore is a visionary in business endeavors, even talking about building a utopian city using what is termed reformed capitalism. He and Rodriguez will have controlling interest in the Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx franchises in a couple of years.

The two new owners talked extensively yesterday about creating a vision for the franchises with strategies that will create an exemplary organizational culture and lead to success on the court. With ultra sophisticated and technology friendly arenas becoming an NBA trademark, it wasn’t surprising to hear the e-commerce savvy Lore talking about one day replacing city-owned Target Center with a state-of-the-art facility that would be a much better business model for him and his partner.

Taylor said he is on board for a new arena some day and understands the necessity. “That won’t be easy,” he told Sports Headliners. “I hope it can happen. It better happen.”

Taylor said he is absolutely sure the Timberwolves will remain in Minnesota long-term, indicating the league is committed to the marketplace. And Rodriguez said he and his partner are “bullish” on Minnesota, with no plans to relocate the franchises.

Asked when he sees himself talking to city officials about Target Center, Lore said, “We’re a long ways off before we start thinking about something like that.”

Glen Taylor

Taylor, the Mankato-based billionaire, has controlled the Timberwolves since 1994. During much of that period the team has been known more for missing the playoffs than being a force in the NBA. That needs to change to make the likelihood of support for a new building more realistic.

“We have to win,” Taylor said. “That builds the arena. It’s pretty simple.”

Lore and Rodriguez reportedly will pay $1.5 billion to own the franchises. Taylor said others would have paid more but he was attracted to the two men. As Taylor reviewed potential owners, he stressed the fit had to be right because he has seen takeovers of other NBA franchises fail with the wrong people in charge.

Taylor shared that instead of being so focused on money, Lore and Rodriguez showed a lot of interest in the people and culture with the Timberwolves and Lynx. “They’re smart. They’re really nice people and I think they care about the employees,” Taylor said.

Taylor believes his new partners are also committed to the product fans will see at Target Center. “What I found out is they want to win, and I love that,” he said.

Worth Noting

More from Taylor on Lore and Rodriguez: “I can tell you these two guys aren’t bashful.”

Rodriguez on interaction with Wolves players: “If we have to rely on my pep talks, we’re not going to win a lot of games.”

Rookie Joe Ryan, 2-1 with a 2:45 ERA, is scheduled to start the Minnesota Twins’ final home regular season game Thursday night against the Detroit Tigers. With the starting staff in flux, he could be the team’s opening day pitcher in 2022.

Viking owners Zygi and Mark Wilf were in the Vikings’ locker room following Sunday’s timely win over the Seattle Seahawks and heard coach Mike Zimmer say if the players do the important things they can “win a lot of games.”

At Zimmer’s post-game news conference he was irritated with a session ending question from Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, who asked how it felt to “finally get a win over Seattle and (quarterback) Russell Wilson.” Here is how Zimmer replied about ending the seven-game losing streak:

“It’s a win. You always bring up those kind of things, don’t you? And you always ask questions like, well, you haven’t beat these guys in 17 years so what do you think about this time? I mean, just ask the question.”

The often maligned Viking offensive line is receiving praise for its performance in the win over the Seahawks, although Seattle was missing its top pass rushers.

The Golden Gophers’ stunning loss to Bowling Green last Saturday is now a major impediment to a winning season. The Falcons, about a 31 point underdog going into the game at Huntington Bank Stadium, were expected to be the worst team on Minnesota’s 12-game schedule. The nonconference loss left the Gophers at 2-2 for the season, instead of 3-1 if they had won. With eight Big Ten games remaining, Minnesota will have to win five times just to finish with a 7-5 overall record. In the prior 10 years, the Gophers have only three times finished with a winning Big Ten record.

The Gophers’ Tanner Morgan has now been outplayed by two quarterbacks from the Mid-American Conference. Bowling Green’s Mike McDonald made better throws in Saturday’s 14-10 win. Two weeks prior Miami (Ohio) quarterback Brett Gabbert threw for 201 yards, while Morgan had 112 in Minnesota’s 31-26 win.

It will be a surprise if Morgan, a four-season starter, doesn’t keep his job for Saturday’s upcoming game at Purdue. However, if the offense is sluggish he might get replaced during the game by Zach Annexstad.

It’s not an excuse for Minnesota’s lack of offensive preparation and execution against the Falcons, but it’s a pattern of Gopher coach P.J. Fleck to use a “vanilla offense” early in the season against nonconference teams. This time it backfired and a successful season is in jeopardy and perhaps the future of offensive coordinator Mike Sanford.

Congratulations to Ed Cohen, a member of the gameday Gophers football statistics crew for 66 seasons, who will celebrate his 90th birthday October 20.

Eric Nelson, Wally Langfellow and former Gophers football player Lee Hutton have a new show airing from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursdays on AM-1440 KYCR. The “Gopher Gold Rush” program includes guests talking about University of Minnesota football.

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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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