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Owner says he’s committed to keeping Timberwolves in Minnesota

Nov 17, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; A view of the Minnesota Timberwolves logo during the game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Minnesota Timberwolves at the American Airlines Center. The Timberwolves defeat the Mavericks 111-87. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor on Thursday remained steadfast in his commitment to keeping the NBA franchise in Minnesota despite being involved in a federal lawsuit with one of his investors.

Taylor, who also owns the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, recently agreed to sell the basketball clubs to former baseball star Alex Rodriguez and entrepreneur Marc Lore for $1.5 billion.

Meyer Orbach, who owns approximately 17 percent of the Timberwolves and Lynx, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis on Wednesday alleging that the pending sale of the franchise is in violation of the franchise’s partnership agreement, according to a copy of the complaint obtained by ESPN.

Orbach, a New Jersey real estate mogul, claimed in the complaint that there are no contractual limitations to keep the franchise in Minnesota. Orbach is seeking an injunction to pause the sale and damages in excess of $300 million.

“I am aware of the story published by ESPN and the litigation that has been filed. As a policy, we do not comment on pending legal matters,” Taylor said in a statement. “I stand by my prior statements and commitment to keeping the Timberwolves and Lynx in Minnesota.”

Rodriguez and Lore are expected to purchase the team in installments, with a controlling stake expected for the 2023-24 season.

The sale of the franchise needs the approval of the NBA’s Board of Governors.

Rodriguez attempted last year to buy the New York Mets along with former fiancee Jennifer Lopez, and Lore was among the other partners in that bid. Bloomberg reported Wednesday that Rodriguez and Lore also are pairing on a venture-capital firm.

Lore, a billionaire New York native, stepped down as Walmart CEO in January. The former entrepreneur created Jet.com (sold to Walmart for $3 billion) and Diapers.com (sold to Amazon for $545 million), among other business ventures.

Rodriguez, 45, was a 14-time All-Star and three-time MVP during his 22 seasons with the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and New York Yankees. He ranks fourth all-time in home runs (696) and RBIs (2,086).

–Field Level Media