Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is in negotiations to sell about a 20 percent stake in the franchise, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. Taylor is negotiating with a group led by Memphis Grizzlies minority owner Steve Kaplan.
Kaplan is reportedly partnering with ex-Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien along with two Indonesian billionaires. The motivation, according to Woj, is to have the inside track of buying the majority share of the Wolves when Taylor decides to sell in the future. Taylor has been the majority owner in Minnesota since 1994.
Kaplan would have to divest the shares in the Grizzlies before completing a deal with Minnesota. His group recently tried to acquire the majority stake in the Atlanta Hawks, but came up short.
Levien is a controversial figure in NBA circles. He joined the Sacramento Kings in 2008 as assistant general manager and general counsel, only to be forced out after 18 months. Levien then partnered with Josh Harris to buy the Philadelphia 76ers in 2011, but he didn’t get the role he desired in basketball operations thanks to backlash from other members of the organization.
Finally, Levien worked with Kaplan and majority owner Robert Pera to purchase the Grizzlies in 2012. Levien was named CEO, but he was given the boot after two years.