Minnesota Timberwolves: Don’t worry too much about Wolves moving

Glen Taylor, Minnesota Timberwolves owner. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Glen Taylor, Minnesota Timberwolves owner. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves aren’t likely to be moving out of Minneapolis.

Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has put his franchise on the market, and the key requirement for being considered as a buyer is that the team will stay in Minneapolis.

What happens to the team after he sells is not entirely up to Taylor, of course, and therefore some anxiety remains regarding the long-term future of the Timberwolves franchise.

But, as reported by some of the local scribes of the Twin Cities, there are plenty of reasons that the team wouldn’t go anywhere.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Don’t worry too much about Wolves moving

The biggest news of the past week related to the Wolves ownership saga is that release of the information that there is a $50 million fee that Taylor (or whomever the future owner might be) would owe to the City of Minneapolis if the team were to break its Target Center lease prior to the 2034-35 season.

Chris Hine of the Star Tribune passed along the actual document signed by Taylor and the city. He astutely points out that the $50 million fee is only 4.2 percent of Taylor’s reported asking price of $1.2 billion. Not exactly a drop in the bucket, but still a surcharge that will need to be factored in by any prospective new owner.

That’s one (admittedly small) strike against the team being moved in the near future.

The other reasons are laid out nicely by The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski (subscription required). He draws a few parallels to the Milwaukee Bucks’ situation from a few years ago, including reported interest from future L.A. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, who was interested in purchasing the team and moving them to Seattle.

The biggest differences are that the Twin Cities is a bigger market and that the lease on the recently-renovated Target Center is longer than it was on the old building in Milwaukee.

Essentially, there would be several hurdles if someone wanted to move the Wolves out of town.

First of all, they’d have to keep their intentions hidden from Taylor as they make the purchase. Then, they’d have to convince themselves that wherever they’d be moving the team would be a better market than Minneapolis, which currently ranks as the No. 15 media market. (Team-less Seattle is No. 13, incidentally. Milwaukee is No. 35.) There’s also the extra $50 million on top of the purchase price.

While it wouldn’t make a potential move impossible, it certainly makes it less of an obvious path than what the Bucks were facing in the recent past.

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At the end of the day, Taylor’s commitment to keeping the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis matters a great deal. And even if he can’t guarantee their presence in the Twin Cities, doing his best to sell them to a new owner who will be the best possible steward of the franchise is the best thing he can do.