On a day where sports news was dominated by the Masters and the return of Wrestlemania, there was another wild story cooking – Arod is part of a group that is buying the Minnesota Timberwolves. This was a crazy headline for two reasons, 1) why in the hell is Arod trying to buy an NBA team at all, and 2) why the Timberwolves? Between missing out on buying the Mets and Lebron buying into the Red Sox ownership group, my theory is that Arod was getting increasingly jealous and desperate, and decided to buy the first thing available.
Though Arod trying to buy an NBA franchise is strange in itself, what really shocked me about this news was the fact that there’s a clause in the deal that allows current owner Glen Taylor to maintain control of the team for two years – with Arod taking over in 2023. If I’m spending $1.5 Billion on a team (the reported sale price), I want to take over now, not in 2 years. You never know what that owner is going to do in the 2 years you’re bankrolling their business – imagine purchasing a house, but allowing the previous owners to live there for two years. They can make any changes they want and you just have to sit there an watch.
Ok, so the house analogy might be a little bit dramatic, but you have to admit that quite a lot of change can occur over the course of two basketball seasons – and these decisions can have a lasting impact on the future of the franchise. Glen Taylor and his people will be responsible for making two years worth of draft picks, they’ll be in charge of the free agency decisions for two off-seasons, and they’ll be able to hire/fire whoever they want during that period. Imagine if they decide they want to trade last year’s first-round pick Anthony Edwards (a potential rookie of the year contender) for a couple of second-round picks. What if they decided to let Karl Anthony-Towns walk during free agency and not make an effort to resign him? They could literally set the franchise back another decade by making poor decisions….and since many if not all of their decisions have been poor to date, I have no reason to believe that would change.
This “buy now, control later” stipulation is exactly what led Steve Cohen to walk-away from purchasing the Mets from the Wilpon family the first time around. They had a deal in place, and at the last second, Jeff Wilpon decided he wanted to take the money but remain in control for two more years. Steve Cohen was smart enough to walk away – unlike Arod – and when the Wilpon’s were forced to sell for financial reasons, Cohen was able to come back-in with an offer they couldn’t refuse and took control immediately.
While I personally don’t think Arod has any business owning an NBA team (stay in your lane), I hope he’s smart enough not to allow Glen Taylor to maintain control for a day longer than he has to. A quick scan of their draft pick history and win/loss record reveals all you need to know about his success (or lack thereof), and the goal should be to get him out as soon as possible. At the end of the day, I don’t care who buys the Wolves, just as long as someone does. The Wolves fan base deserves an owner who want to turn that team around and put a winner on the court. You can’t deny that Arod has star power, so maybe he will be able to attract some talent and make them a contender – but I guess we will have to wait another two years.