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Report: Taylor nixed T-Wolves sale over projected payroll cuts

Stephen Maturen / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor voided the sale of the franchise, as well as the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, to Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore due in part to forecasted cuts to team payroll, sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Lore and Rodriguez reportedly shared budget projections to Taylor and the league, as well as private equity firm The Carlyle Group, that depicted a $171-million payroll for the 2024-25 campaign. However, Minnesota is already projected to have $185.7 million in taxable salaries next season, courtesy of Spotrac, despite only 10 players currently under contract. Part of the reason for the jump in spending is due to max extensions set to kick in for Anthony Edwards (five years, $204.5 million) and Karl-Anthony Towns (four years, $221.1 million).

Taylor reportedly feared the reduction in payroll would negatively affect the Timberwolves' potential to compete for a title. It's unclear how Lore and Rodriguez would have reduced the team's total salary, but their apparent budget target of $171 million would have gotten the team underneath next season's projected $172-million luxury tax marker. Minnesota is just under $1 million shy of crossing the tax threshold this season, per Spotrac.

At 55-24, Minnesota is wrapping up one of the best regular seasons in franchise history and can still equal the 2003-04 side's record of 58 wins. Chris Finch's squad has already secured the Western Conference's third seed, at minimum, and is aiming to be the first Timberwolves team to advance past the first round since 2004.

The team's sale was set to be finalized in March once Lore and Rodriguez submitted the last of three payments to Taylor. The two prospective owners had previously acquired 40% of the franchise in two installments and were set to acquire another 40% with the final transaction. However, Taylor abruptly called off the process on March 28, claiming that the two missed a 90-day closing deadline after exercising their option to acquire controlling interest. Taylor said the Timberwolves and Lynx are no longer for sale.

Lore and Rodriguez fired back the next day, with the former calling the move "a slap in the face." They also claimed that Taylor balked at completing the sale due to the franchise's valuation spiking as a result of the successful season. Forbes calculated the Timberwolves' value at $2.5 billion in October after the franchise had a $1.5-billion valuation when Taylor first agreed to sell 80% of the team in May 2021.

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