The Minnesota Timberwolves' prospective sale to Memphis Grizzlies minority owner Steve Kaplan has reportedly caused friction within the Memphis ownership group and is stalling the sale.
ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe reported on the matter Sunday, indicating Kaplan and Grizzlies majority owner Robert Pera have debated for months about shares in the team. Kaplan's spat with Pera is thought to be jeopardizing the former's deal with current Wolves owner Glen Taylor.
Kaplan is attempting to buy 30 percent of the Wolves, with a vision of eventually becoming the controlling owner once Taylor eventually steps down. The tense dynamic between Kaplan and Pera spiked further when Kaplan threatened arbitration during the shares argument and ultimately led Pera to settle, though.
Windhorst and Lowe also reported Pera has largely excluded Memphis' minority owners from key organizational decisions over the past year.
Language in the contracts of another minority owner, Daniel Straus, and Kaplan presents the option for them to make a bid for controlling interest in the Grizzlies beginning in October 2017. So if Pera costs Kaplan a shot at being a majority owner in Minnesota, he may well have the power to take the Grizzlies.
But Kaplan has seemed keen to go to Minnesota. He previously had wanted to spend time with the Wolves this season to get to know those in the organization as he made a hopeful transition to ownership.
Sources told Windhorst and Lowe that the contingent of young talent Minnesota has assembled recently has caused Taylor to reconsider whether he wants to sell the team.
Taylor has been slow in negotiations to ensure he has say over what happens with interim head coach Sam Mitchell and general manager Milt Newton in the event Kaplan and Co. take over, as the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda reported.
Unless relations rapidly improve between Pera and Kaplan, the climate may not be ripe for the latter to strike a deal for a Wolves sale even if Taylor were legitimately willing to part ways with a portion of the team.