From the very moment Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez unofficially bought the minnesota Timberwolves, there has been a lot of speculation of the Timberwolves being relocated. A part of that is the nature of having owners not from a local market, but this has been especially speculated because of Alex Rodriguez’s reputation as being deceiving as well as the fact he was drafted by the Seattle Mariners, this gives him a connection to a city that’s viewed as a primary destination for an expansion team or relocation.
These rumors especially gained heat when Charley Walters of the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported he has heard whispers that Alex Rodriguez would be interested in relocating the Timberwolves to Seattle. Even though these rumors are out of the bottle, whether they are true or not, this doesn’t mean the Timberwolves will 1000%, positively be relocated in the near future. Here’s why:
The NBA Wants to Expand
Months back, Adam Silver made this comment,
“I think I’ve always said that it’s sort of the manifest detiny of the league that you expand at some point.”
This was the first time Adam Silver in a very long time truly opened up to the idea of actually expanding an NBA team, for good reason. It is no secret that the league lost millions-billions of dollars due the sudden stoppage of the league last year and shrinkage of fans in stadiums this season due to COVID-19. The expansion fee of the NBA is $2B. The money the owners and league in general can get from expanding could recoup the money lost much, much quicker.
Considering the fact that the relocation fee is $100M, it makes much more sense to simply expand to both Seattle and Las Vegas, which is what is going to most likely happen.
The NBA Needs to Approve of a Relocation
Regardless of if there is wording or restrictions regarding the possibility of relocating a team in an owners contract, the biggest obstacle an ownership group is getting the majority of NBA owners to approve of a move, which has only happened four times in the last 40 years.
The Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Area) is one of the 15 biggest markets in the country, that isn’t a market the league would simply want to move away from due to the potential a market of that size has if a team is competitive. For that reason, according to Jon Krawczynski of the Athletic, has said the league most likely would not approve of the Timberwolves relocating in the near future.
Don’t get it Twisted, the Timberwolves could Always Move Years Down the Road
Even though the Timberwolves won’t me relocated in the near future, this doesn’t mean they are forever off the hook.
The Timberwolves’ stadium in Target Center was created in 1990 and is known as one of the league’s lowest quality stadiums, despite its recent renovation. Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez more likely than not will want to make a new stadium and get help from the state of Minnesota to do so. If the Timberwolves don’t raise the value of their franchise by winning very soon and ultimately drawing in more fans, why would Minnesota help A-Rod and Lore get a new stadium if the team becomes ultimately stale to the city? The state probably wouldn’t help!
If it eventually gets to that point and A-Rod and Lore decide it’s the best decision to relocate, there would be a better chance the league just approves of whatever relocation they want make because the Twin Cities market wouldn’t have provided the league much value in the last few decades. A smaller market team that heavily desires a team such as Louisville, Pittsburgh, or Kansas City could provide more value to the Timberwolves with fresh and optimistic fans as well as a new stadium. Something similar happened when the Seattle Sonics relocated to the smaller market in Oklahoma City and changed their name to the Thunder. Clayton Bennett (Thunder owner) couldn’t get enough public funding to build a stadium in Seattle, so the league approved of him moving to Oklahoma City, where they had fresh, hungry fans as well as a pretty solid stadium in Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Timberwolves are giving Themselves their Best Chance of Staying in Minnesota
To any Timberwolves fan reading this, I get it. The idea that the Timberwolves need to be good sooner than later to stay in Minneapolis for the foreseeable future may be intimidating and worrisome. But with one of the most promising young cores in the league in Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley along with other pieces such as Naz Reid and Leandro Bolmaro, they are giving themselves a chance to be good very soon, which gives them a super high chance of staying in Minnesota for a very, very long time. We have seen crazier things than the Timberwolves becoming competitive. For instance, the Knicks are good now….