Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore will become majority owners of the Minnesota Timberwolves in two years. Their eagerness to be involved put an early imprint on the team and wound up costing it a chunk of money.
The NBA on Monday fined the Timberwolves $250,000 for organizing offseason practice outside the Minnesota area. The gathering, which included workouts and a reported team dinner, took place this summer in Miami at the home of Rodriguez, the three-time American League MVP and current MLB broadcaster for ESPN and Fox.
In a news release, the NBA said its rules "prohibit teams from arranging or paying for offseason practice or group workout sessions for their players outside a team's home market."
Lore, a former Walmart executive, wasn't very private about the workouts: He posted on his Twitter account about the gathering, including pictures of him pretending to shoot a basketball.
Rodriguez and Lore are set to take over the Timberwolves and the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx as majority owners in 2023 after they bought the teams from Glen Taylor, who has owned the Timberwolves since 1994 and the Lynx since 1999, for $1.5 billion in April. Rodriguez said at a September news conference that, as owners, he and Lore wanted to make sure they were reaching everyone in the organization.
"We're going through the exercise right now, spending tons of hours, interviewing people - both fans, media, coaches, players - about how do we start building a great mission, a great foundation and then really build a very flat organization where there's full transparency, fairness and honesty," Rodriguez said.
The two also said they had no plans to move the franchise out of Minnesota, with Lore adding that "there's a great opportunity to eventually build a new arena and infuse it with the latest technology."
The Miami gathering was part of an eventful final stretch of the offseason for the Timberwolves. A few weeks after the workout, the team abruptly fired its president of basketball operations, Gersson Rosas, after two seasons. Executive Vice President Sachin Gupta was temporarily elevated to head of basketball operations.
"As an organization, we remain committed to building a winning team that our fans and city can be proud of," Taylor said at the time.
Minnesota star Karl-Anthony Towns was shocked by the move, tweeting "wtf..." soon after Rosas was fired.
The Timberwolves are looking to turn their season and their franchise around. They entered Monday's game against Phoenix with a 4-8 record, good for 12th in the Western Conference, and have made just one playoff appearance since 2004.