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Monday Musings: Ownership Turmoil

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News broke yesterday that the anticipated partial sale of the Timberwolves to Steve Kaplan, current minority share owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, may be in serious jeopardy.

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ESPN published an article yesterday from Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe that delved into the issues that Steve Kaplan is facing in his attempts to partially buy the Timberwolves from current owner Glen Taylor. This sale would pave the way for Kaplan to eventually take over as the owner of the franchise. However, there have been complications arising that prove troubling to the transaction.

While this is not entirely new information that ESPN is covering, the article provides a more complete breakdown along with some sourced information about how this is affecting the Timberwolves.

The initial issue stems from the fact that the owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, Robert Pera, has been making it difficult for Kaplan to sell his shares. This has lead to a dispute between the two businessman that has recently been settled, but the change of timelines has led a slew of resulting complications to the eventual goal of the sale of the Timberwolves.

Kaplan has still not been able to sell his shares of the Grizzlies, which total 14% of the franchise and he has valued at 100 million dollars. There is also the potential clause of Kaplan's deal with the Grizzlies that allows him and a fellow minority owner, Daniel Straus, to trigger a "buy or sell" option with Pera where Kaplan and Straus would essentially name a price valuation of the franchise. Pera would then be able to buy out the two owners at this price or sell his shares to them at the valued price. The problem with this sort of "nuclear option" is that if Kaplan and Straus lowball Pera he can buy them out at a massive advantage, but if the two minority owners place a up-marked valuation then they could be forced to buy a controlling share of the team at the price.

Unfortunately, this has little to do with the Timberwolves except that the resulting debris from this dispute in Memphis has created some cause for concern with Glen Taylor and his decision to cede control of the team to Kaplan. Kaplan was initially supposed to be travelling with the team as well as have a significant role in making coaching and front office decisions in the summer.

Last month, Brian Windhorst reported that cursory contact was made by the Timberwolves to available coach Tom Thibodeau. It was later revealed that this contact was likely made by Kaplan or his people as he was already starting to flex some of his decision making power within the organization.

All of these plans have fallen through and in ESPN's article they mention that two sources close to Glen Taylor have said that Taylor is now reconsidering whether or not he wants to sell his controlling interest in the team and will likely remain a major part in making decisions on whether or not to retain current coach Sam Mitchell and GM Milt Newton.

For those hoping that fresh voices could catapult the Wolves into being a more modern NBA franchise this is obviously disheartening news. It's easy to imagine that Taylor views the ordeal in Memphis as a less than promising beginning for a relationship with the future owner of his franchise and with the Timberwolves' bevy of young talent it might be prudent to wait this out and see where the franchise cornerstones of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns can take the Wolves.

However this leaves the Wolves in a precarious situation as if Taylor and the Wolves are waiting for Kaplan, they will also likely wait to make a decision regarding the future of Mitchell and Newton and making it less likely that they will be able to land a marquee coach over the summer, of which several are currently available.

In more light-hearted news. Kanye West has reached out via the Twitter to Steve Balmer about redesigning the Clipper's mascot, which lead to this exchange.

I would love to be there for that conversation.

This Week in... Things that are Great!

I watched "The Night Before" this week, as it has recently become available. This is the type of movie that you will know if you are going to like just based upon the actors in the movie. If you like Seth Rogen and the regular Judd Apatow crew, than this will be the movie for you. If not, well then I would recommend giving this one a hard pass.

At this point the plot is familiar, as with all Judd Apatow movies it's primarily about late twenties/early thirties adults (usually men) gradually accepting responsibility amidst a drug and alcohol fueled adventure. This movie is no different, albeit it focuses on the holidays. Regardless, it's a great movie for a lazy evening.

Happy Monday