Alex Rodriguez recently became a part-owner of the NBA’s Timberwolves and the WNBA’s Lynx.
Rodriguez reportedly wants to move the Timberwolves to Seattle, according to an insider.
Seattle already has a WNBA team, which would prevent Rodriguez from bringing the Lynx with him.
Alex Rodriguez reportedly wants to bring the NBA back to Seattle, but he could create a conflict for the WNBA in doing so.
Rodriguez is already looking to move the team to Seattle, according to insider Charley Walters of The Pioneer Press.
A-Rod began his MLB career with the Seattle Mariners in 1994. The NBA previously had a Seattle franchise with the Supersonics before moving to Oklahoma City to become the Thunder in 2008.
Seattle has been a prime target for an expansion team as the city has longed for the NBA’s return. Rodriguez, who will assume ownership powers over the Timberwolves in 2023, could initiate the league’s return.
A-Rod has a WNBA problem and has ignored it so far
Rodriguez and Lore could have a difficult decision to make regarding another asset they acquired alongside the Timberwolves, Minnesota’s WNBA franchise, the Lynx.
Seattle is already home to a WNBA franchise, the Seattle Storm, and the WNBA doesn’t have multiple teams in the same city. Even media capitals like New York and Los Angeles aren’t yet seen as feasible markets to support multiple WNBA franchises, let alone a smaller city like Seattle.
Rodriguez didn’t even acknowledge the Lynx during his opening press conference. His reported desire to move the Timberwolves to Seattle could indicate that he sees the storied WNBA franchise as a lesser priority.
If Rodriguez and Lore were to leave the Lynx in Minnesota while moving the rest of their operation to Seattle, they would forfeit efficient ownership proximity for one of the WNBA’s most iconic franchises.
By all metrics, the Lynx have been a more successful franchise than the Timberwolves since coming into existence in 1999. While the Timberwolves have missed the playoffs 16 of the last 17 years and have never won an NBA title, the Lynx have been a perennial playoff team while winning four WNBA championships.
Former Timberwolves and Lynx owner Glen Taylor has been regarded as an ‘ardent champion‘ of the women’s game, as he’s treated the Lynx with equal regard to the Timberwolves during his ownership. But Taylor might have forfeited his power over keeping the two franchises in the same city in the sale to Rodriguez and Lore.
Taylor was recently sued by minority owner Meyer Orbach, who said in his lawsuit that Taylor didn’t include specific language in a sale agreement to keep the Timberwolves and Lynx in Minnesota.
“As a policy, we do not comment on pending legal matters,” Taylor said last week, according to Paulina Dedaj of Fox News. “I stand by my prior statements and commitment to keeping the Timberwolves and Lynx in Minnesota.”
Still, there are no established contractual limitations to keep Lore and Rodriguez from moving the Timberwolves and Lynx to a new city if they want.
The only things that could slow down the move is the NBA’s board of governors which must approve the relocation of any franchise and an active agreement between the organization and Minneapolis. The Timberwolves and Lynx have a lease to play at the Target Center through 2035, and there is a $50 million penalty for breaking it.
But Rodriguez and Lore could simply pay the penalty if they want to move the team before then.
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