The Timberwolves’ potential change in ownership may take much longer than originally expected.
There has been a bit of Wolves-related news in the wake of Friday night’s exhilarating win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, but it isn’t all positive.
The Wolves announced on Sunday that big man Greg Smith to a second 10-day contract after he’s played well in just over 10 minutes per game over the past six games. It was expected, and now we’ll continue to wait and see if the team will fill out the roster as it is still only carrying 14 players.
Elsewhere, ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst published a lengthy report detailing the ‘drama’ within the Memphis Grizzlies’ ownership group that is having a direct, negative impact on the timeline of the Timberwolves’ potential shift in ownership.
Steve Kaplan, who is one of the Grizzlies’ minority owners, was initially slated to take ownership of 30 percent of the Timberwolves with a plan to eventually take a majority share of the team as long-time owner Glen Taylor slowly ceded control of the franchise.
But a dispute between Kaplan and Memphis majority owner Robert Pera has severely hampered the process.
Here’s an excerpt from Lowe and Windhorst at ESPN.com:
…sources tell ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe, a dispute between Kaplan and Grizzlies owner Robert Pera over shares of the team led to behind-the-scenes trouble that took months to resolve.
It was recently settled after Kaplan threatened to initiate an arbitration procedure, sources said. The terms of the settlement are confidential, and multiple sources declined to comment on them. NBA owners cannot formally sue each other under league rules, and minority owners typically must sell shares of one team before buying into another.
The resulting delay has put Kaplan’s deal with Wolves owner Glen Taylor in jeopardy. Kaplan and an investor went to Minneapolis earlier this month to meet with Taylor to salvage the process.
This is a huge deal, as so much of the Wolves’ on-court future hinges on whom is sitting in the ownership chair. If there is uncertainty, Taylor will surely stick with the status quo — that means Milt Newton as general manager and Sam Mitchell as head coach, for better or for worse.
Any new owner will want to have say in both the front office and on the bench, and it wouldn’t make sense for Taylor to make sweeping changes right before selling the team. And while Newton hasn’t done anything of note from a personnel perspective, there is plenty to gripe about regarding the job that Mitchell has done thus far.
We’ll keep a close eye on the situation as it continues to be an under-the-radar story that will have a significant impact on the future of the franchise.