From: Las Vegas
BROWNS OWNER JIMMY HASLAM EXPLORING PURCHASE OF NBA’S TIMBERWOLVES
Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is exploring a bid for the Minnesota Timberwolves, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.
Sportico reported in July that billionaire T-Wolves owner Glen Taylor had retained The Raine Group to sell the National Basketball Association franchise he has owned since 1994.
The Straus Group, the family office of Daniel Straus—a former investor in the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies—had entered into exclusive talks to buy the NBA team, but no agreement was reached by its expiration, said the people, who were granted anonymity because the matter is private.
Raine declined to comment. Haslam Sports Group in a statement said it “is regularly evaluating potential investment opportunities in sports and entertainment but any speculation about us currently being in the process of pursuing that investment would be inaccurate.”
Haslam, whom Forbes says is worth about $2.9 billion, is one of several people eyeing a purchase of the Timberwolves, the people said, adding that Straus was still in talks to acquire the team.
Haslam is the chief executive officer of truck stop company Pilot Flying J, which was founded by his father in 1958. A former investor in the Pittsburgh Steelers, Haslam and his wife, Dee, acquired control of the Browns in 2012. Dee Haslam is chair of the Haslam Sports Group.
Taylor is seeking at least $1.2 billion for the franchise, Sportico has reported.
Haslam is seeking to become one of a handful of people who own multiple teams in the major U.S. sports leagues, joining, among others, Stan Kroenke (Rams, Nuggets, Avalanche), Ted Leonsis (Wizards, Capitals), Terry Pegula (Bills, Sabres), Jim Dolan (Knicks, New York Rangers) and Jerry Reinsdorf (Bulls, White Sox).
Jimmy Haslam in 2018 wasn’t charged in a multimillion dollar fraud committed by top executives of Pilot Flying J. Haslam had denied any wrongdoing.
The WNBA’s Lynx are also part of the sale, which has attracted the attention of former Timberwolves star, Kevin Garnett, who is part of another group pursuing the NBA franchise.
The Browns haven’t had a winning season under Haslam’s ownership, including a 1-15 mark in 2016 and a winless record the following season.
The team went 6-10 last season