Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodroguez

Alex Rodriguez will become a co-owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves if the league approves the sale of the team for $1.5 billion. Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has reached agreement on his $1.5 billion sale of the club to e-commerce mogul Marc Lore and former baseball star Alex Rodriguez, a person with knowledge of the negotiation told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because league approval was still pending and neither side had publicly announced an agreement.

The deal, Taylor previously said, has been contingent on Lore and Rodriguez keeping the team in Minnesota. The two sides entered an exclusive negotiating window on April 10. Lore and Rodriguez are 50-50 partners. They tried to buy the New York Mets last year but were beaten out for the Major League Baseball club by hedge fund manager Steve Cohen.

Any sale of an NBA club must ultimately approved by the league’s Board of Governors. The Timberwolves would then become the second NBA franchise sold this season. Gail Miller and her family struck an agreement in October to sell the Utah Jazz to Ryan Smith, a deal that was finalized after Board of Governors’ approval in December.

The 80-year-old Taylor, a lifelong Minnesotan who bought the Wolves in 1994 for $88 million to save them from moving to New Orleans, has said he will continue to run the club for two more seasons until a handover in 2023. The Minnesota Lynx WNBA team is included in the sale.

“They’ve asked that I would be there for any decisions that would need to be made. I would enjoy that. I love teaching people. These are a couple of very bright guys, and I think it could be helpful to the club and I think I could be helpful to them so that they feel confident once they take over 100%,” Taylor said an interview last month.

Lore, 49, became Walmart’s e-commerce chief in 2016, when the retail giant bought his Jet.com startup in an attempt to boost online business. Lore notified Walmart on Jan. 31 of his intent to leave the company. Lore will continue to serve in a consulting role as a strategic adviser through September.

Rodriguez, 45, hit 696 home runs over 22 major league seasons, with the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers. His last season on the field was 2016, marking the end of marvelous career that was tainted by performance-enhancing drug use he later admitted to. Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 season for violating MLB policy.

Lore said in an interview with Bloomberg this week that he and Rodriguez have launched a venture capital firm. The pair first approached Taylor about a purchase last month and met with him and his wife at their winter home in Naples, Florida.

Taylor has engaged in sale talks with numerous suitors over the years but taken a deliberate approach to finding a buyer he’s comfortable with. He said previously that his initial meeting with Lore and Rodriguez went “terrifically well.”

SOCIAL JUSTICE AWARD: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar appreciates what today’s NBA players are doing in their attempts to make the world better, how they’re using their voices and platforms as conduits for change.

And going forward, one of those players will be rewarded by a trophy bearing Abdul-Jabbar’s name.

The NBA announced the creation of a new award – the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award – to recognize players who are making strides in the fight for social justice. Each NBA team will nominate one player for consideration; from there, five finalists will be selected and ultimately one winner.

“I’m really proud of what the NBA has been doing all along in terms of activism and their efforts for equality and inclusion,” Abdul-Jabbar said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I think they’ve done a great job. I’ve always felt that was something important and teaming up with them to be involved in this award is very meaningful.”

The winning player will receive $100,000 for the charity of his choice; the other four finalists will receive $25,000 apiece, also for charity.

“In addition to being one of our greatest players, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has devoted much of his life to advocating for equality and social justice,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a release announcing the award’s creation. “With this new award, we are proud to recognize and celebrate NBA players who are using their influence to make an impact on their communities and our broader society.”

Abdul-Jabbar has spent most of his life as an activist in one form or another. He met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for the first time as a 17-year-old. He famously attended what was called The Cleveland Summit in June 1967 where he, Bill Russell, Jim Brown and other prominent Black athletes came together to talk with Muhammad Ali about his being a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War. He has worked to help economically depressed areas improve schools as well.

Being involved was in his blood, Abdul-Jabbar said. His great-uncle, John Alcindor, was a physician in England during World War I – treating war veterans for free and becoming known as the “Black Doctor of Paddington.”

“I think it’s just really a family tradition and something that makes sense,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “When you see something wrong you have to speak out about it and try to effect some change.”

BUCKS: Milwaukee signed guard Elijah Bryant, who has spent the last two seasons playing with Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel. Bryant, 26, averaged 10.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists while shooting 47% for Maccabi Tel Aviv this season. The 6-foot-5 guard played a total of 100 games with Maccabi Tel Aviv over two seasons.

He played 36 games with Hapoel Eilat of the Israel Super League in 2018-19. Bryant was undrafted in 2018 after averaging 18.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in his junior season at BYU. He played four games and averaged 14.3 points and 23.3 minutes for a Bucks’ summer league team in 2019.

NETS: Brooklyn signed guard Mike James to a contract for the rest of the season after the expiration of his second 10-day deal.

James, who has played most of his nine-year pro career in Europe, is averaging 7.1 points and 3.7 assists in 17.5 minutes per game since signing his first 10-day deal on April 23.

WARRIORS: Golden State signed forward Juan Toscano-Anderson to a multiyear deal and forward Jordan Bell to a two-way contract for the remainder of the 2020-21 season.

Toscano-Anderson originally signed a two-way contact with the Warriors in December. He is averaging 5.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 55 games this season. The Oakland native has scored in double-figures 10 times, including a career-high 20-point performance on April 15 at Cleveland.

Bell is back for a second stint with the Warriors after spending the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons with Golden State. He most recently signed a 10-day contract with the Washington Wizards at the end of April and appeared in five games, scoring 14 points and grabbing 19 rebounds.

THURSDAY’S GAMES

BUCKS 142, PACERS 133: AGiannis Antetokounmpo had 40 points, 15 rebounds and six assists and visiting Milwaukee wore down short-handed Indiana.

The Pacers dressed just 10 players because of injuries and didn’t have a defensive answer for Antetokounmpo, the two-time NBA MVP who made 14 of 18 shots from the field – six on uncontested dunks – and hit 11 of 16 free throws.

CLIPPERS 113, HORNETS 90: Paul George had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Reggie Jackson added 19 points off the bench on five 3-pointers and visiting Los Angeles handed slumping Charlotte its fourth loss in five games.

HAWKS 116, MAGIC 93: Bogdan Bogdanovich scored 27 points, Trae Young added 18 and Atlanta won at home for its third straight victory.

HEAT 106, 76ERS 94: Jimmy Butler scored 21 points, Bam Adebayo had 18 points and 12 rebounds and Miami held onto the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference, beating visiting Philadelphia.

KNICKS 102, SPURS 98: Alec Burks scored a season-high 30 points in his return from a three-game absence and New York kept up its chase for home-court advantage in the playoffs by rallying to beat visiting San Antonio.

Julius Randle had 25 points, nine rebounds and nine assists for the Knicks, who are a half-game behind Atlanta as they battle the Hawks and Miami for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.

NUGGETS 114, TIMBERWOLVES 103: Nikola Jokic scored 16 of his 31 points in the first quarter, and visiting Denver held off a second-half rally by Minnesota.

BULLS 114, RAPTORS 102: Zach LaVine scored 24 points, Lauri Markkanen added 20 and Chicago won at home against short-handed Toronto.

GRIZZLIES 116, KINGS 110: Dillon Brooks scored 30 points and Memphis used a late rally to defeat visiting Sacramento.


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