- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 27, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Breathe easy, Timberwolves fans. Owner Glen Taylor says your team isn’t going anywhere.

Taylor said on Wednesday night that Minnesota would not be a candidate for contraction if the NBA decided to go that route while negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement.

“I can say that Minnesota is not one of the teams that would be contracted, nor do we expect that in the future,” Taylor said before the Timberwolves opened the season against the Sacramento Kings.

Commissioner David Stern first brought up the possibility of eliminating a team or teams last week. Stern said it could be one way to solve the league’s financial woes.

As the chairman of the NBA’s board of governors, Taylor was listening closely to Stern’s comments. He said the league is merely considering all of its options at this point as a possible lockout looms after this season.

“We have a serious problem in that we’ve got to make the league more profitable,” Taylor said. “I don’t think that’s our preference that we do that.

“I think what David said is we’re going to talk about all the things with the union and hopefully it doesn’t come to that.”

The word contraction hits a little too close to home for sports fans in Minnesota. Major League Baseball put the Minnesota Twins on the chopping block in 2002 after the team had failed for years to secure approval for a new, revenue-producing ballpark.

A court ruling ultimately forced the team to play the final year of its lease in the Metrodome, and the Twins eventually gained approval for Target Field, which allowed them to survive, and thrive, this decade.

Taylor said the NBA is nowhere near as close to that situation.

“I think it was just thrown out there as one of the things on the table,” Taylor said. “But I can tell you at this point we don’t have somebody lined up like baseball had that year.”

If it ever were to get to that point where contraction in the NBA was a real possibility, Taylor said the league would need an owner or owners willing to cut ties with their franchise, and a team that shows little signs of being competitive on the floor or at the box office.

Taylor said he has spoken to many owners as labor talks have started to heat up and has yet to hear from one who would be willing to consider the idea.

“We’re not in that situation,” Taylor said. “Nor do we hope that would happen.”



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