The pending sale of the Minnesota Timberwolves to Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez has no contractural limitations to keep the franchise from being relocated to a new city.
The language of the sales agreement between Taylor and prospective owners Rodriguez and Lore is in contrast to Taylor's numerous public comments that the sales agreement would include a provision requiring the new group to keep the Timberwolves in Minnesota. "They will keep the team here, yes," Taylor told the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune on April 11 about the Lore and Rodriguez ownership group. "We will put it in the agreement. At this point, we have a letter of intent, but when we make up the contract, we'll put that in there. That's no problem. That won't be a problem."
Several days later, Taylor reiterated to WCCO radio in Minneapolis: "We have it in the contract. They have signed the contract to do that ..."
Taylor then said this: "But let's just say somehow they were able to break that agreement. The real agreement is with the NBA. The NBA will make the decision if somebody's going to move or not move. The NBA will not approve the Timberwolves moving from here to Seattle. It's in the NBA's interest that in Seattle a new team is formed.
"It's an economic decision that's in the interest of all the owners because if they start a new team out there, that team is going to have to pay maybe $2 billion to get started there. They pay that to the other owners. The present owners are not going to pay a billion and a half to leave it in Minnesota and another $2 billion to move it out of there. That's the assurance I have that they aren't going to move it out of there."
Meyer Orbach, the second-largest shareholder of the Wolves, filed a complaint agreeing the pending sale is in violation of the franchise's partnership agreement. The complaint cites Taylor's failure to honor the "tag-along rights" for minority investors in the franchise, which allows them to sell their interests in the teams before Taylor sells his own.
A vote of the NBA's board of governors is still required to give final approval of the sale to Lore and Rodriguez.