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Alex Rodriguez hopes to become new owner of Minnesota's NBA team

Alex Rodriguez, the retired New York Yankees shortstop turned businessman, is in line to become one of the new owners of the Minnesota Timberwolves NBA franchise.

Rodriguez is partnering with former Walmart executive Marc Lore on the purchase, which also includes Minnesota's WNBA team, known as the Lynx. Lore and Rodriguez have signed a letter of intent and will spend the next 30 days negotiating the purchase details with Glen Taylor, a former state politician who has owned the basketball franchises since 1994. Taylor has listed the Timberwolves-Lynx franchise price at $1.5 billion, reports.

"We look forward to entering this phase of the process with Glen Taylor," Lore and Rodriguez said in a statement Saturday. "Our respect for him and the legacy he built lays an amazing foundation for what is to come. We are excited by the prospect of getting to know the Timberwolves organization, the talented team and their incredible fans."

If Rodriguez does become a Timberwolves owner, he will join a small group of athletes of color who now own a sports team. NBA great Michael Jordan owns the Charlotte Hornets; NFL quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a minority owner of the Kansas City Royals; NBA superstar LeBron James is part owner of the Boston Red Sox and retired NBA player Magic Johnson is part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Among the four major U.S. sports leagues, there are few owners of color. Kim Pegula, an Asian woman, owns the NFL's Buffalo Bills and Shad Khan, a Pakistani man, owns the Jacksonville Jaguars. Arte Moreno, a Mexican-American, owns the MLB Los Angeles Angels and Sheila Johnson is part-owner of the NHL's Washington Capitals and NBA's Washington Wizards. 

Details of the possible deal remain under wraps, so it's unclear if Lore and Rodriguez will pay the full sticker price Taylor has put on the team. The Athletic reported that Lore and Rodriguez would become minority owners once the sale clears and that the pair would become full, joint owners starting in 2023. 

"The deal structure will initially entail a limited partnership stake with a pathway to controlling ownership of the organization," the Timberwolves described it in a statement Saturday.

Lore and Rodriguez have also agreed not to relocate the team once they become owners, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. For the sale to be finalized, the National Basketball Association and its 29 other team owners must sign off on the purchase.

The 45-year-old Rodriguez retired from the Yankees after hitting almost 700 home runs, and is widely expected to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Forbes estimates his net worth at $350 million. He and Lore would be 50-50 owners of the teams.

Lore, a New York-born ecommerce entrepreneur, became a billionaire after selling to Walmart in 2016 and selling to Amazon in 2011. 

Taylor's negotiations with Rodriguez marks each side's second attempt to sell or buy a major sports team. Taylor has been trying to sell the Timberwolves for nearly a year. He was in advanced talks last year to sell the team to New York real estate developer Daniel Straus, but the deal fizzled.

Since retiring, Rodriguez has repeatedly expressed his desire to own a sports franchise, especially a baseball club. Rodriguez, his fiancee Jennifer Lopez and a group of New York business leaders placed a combined $2.3 billion bid to purchase the New York Mets. The Mets eventually agreed to be bought by hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen for $2.4 billion.

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