Alex Rodriguez’s pact with an e-commerce tycoon to buy the Minnesota Timberwolves for $1.5 billion appears to be in jeopardy — and some insiders claim his breakup with Jennifer Lopez is at least partly to blame.
Last year, the former Yankees slugger teamed up to buy the NBA franchise with Marc Lore — the billionaire online retail guru planning to build an eco-friendly metropolis called “Telosa” in the Southwest desert.
A-Rod and Lore were supposed to be equal partners when they made a $250 million down payment in July 2021 — a cash investment that, coupled with the assumption of a chunk of debt on the team, amounted to a 20% stake, according to sources close to the situation.
However, A-Rod at the time had failed to come up with his full share, leaving Lore to cover the balance, three sources close to the situation said. As a result, Lore now has a roughly 13% share in the Timberwolves while A-Rod has amassed a mere 7%.
“Alex and Marc were supposed to be 50/50,” an NBA source said. “Alex couldn’t come up with his half.”
Now, terms of the deal require A-Rod and Lore to make the next 20% payment by year’s end, and A-Rod is scrambling to raise his half in addition to the cash he needs for the down payment, the three sources confirmed.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if A-Rod becomes a subservient No. 2 to Lore,” a source said, predicting that Lore might end up buying more than half and controlling the team.
Lore told The Post without confirming or denying that he owns a bigger stake than A-Rod that the two still make all decisions together.
“I couldn’t imagine having a better partner. He is one of my best friends,” Lore said Monday. “There is no one else I would rather be partners with than Alex.”
A-Rod first teamed up with Lore for a bid to buy the New York Mets in 2020. At the time, A-Rod was dating Lopez — a situation that appeared to play a role in forging his ties with Lore, according to sources close to the situation.
“Marc got completely mesmerized by the J. Lo thing,” the source who knows both both investors said.
A-Rod frequently called for meetings with prospective business partners at the power couple’s lavish homes in Bel-Air and the Hamptons — and Lopez was typically on the premises, according to sources close to the situation.
“You always took your A-Rod meeting with J.Lo,” the source said. “She is coming in and out of the room with workout clothes.”
“A-Rod always made it seem like they were investing as a couple,” the source added.
Lore — who founded Diapers.com and famously sold his grocery startup Jet.com to Walmart in 2016 for $3.3 billion — and A-Rod eventually lost the Mets auction process to hedge-fund billionaire Steve Cohen, who bought the team in 2020 for $2.4 billion.
Rodriguez, 47, began dating Lopez in early 2017 and proposed in 2019 with a 16-carat emerald-cut diamond ring worth an estimated $1.8 million. But the two stars broke up and called off the engagement in the spring of last year — just one month before J.Lo rekindled her romance with Ben Affleck, whom she married in a lavish wedding ceremony this month.
It was shortly before the pair called off their engagement that A-Rod and Lore launched their bid for the Timberwolves — and A-Rod wasn’t well prepared for the breakup from a financial standpoint, according to sources.
On his own, A-Rod might be worth $500 million, but little of it is believed to be liquid, sources said. He owns part of a real estate portfolio with $1 billion in tens of thousands of apartments and homes, including some properties in the Minneapolis area, sources said.
The bigger problem, however, may be that A-Rod now lacks J.Lo as he looks to charm co-investors, according to some insiders Recently, Rodriguez has been linked romantically with Kathryn Padgett, a 25-year-old, Dallas-based fitness competitor.
“His ability to raise capital went from strong to meaningfully weaker,” believes a source who knows A-Rod well. “J.Lo validated him.”
If A-Rod and Lore manage to make their next payment by year’s end, they will then get the chance to buy an additional 40% and take control of the team by the end of 2023.
If the pair fails, insiders say Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor won’t be overly disappointed, according to an NBA source. That’s because Taylor believes the value of the team has risen to about $2 billion since they struck the deal, and believes he can make more by starting a new sales process.
The Timberwolves did not return calls.
A-Rod told The Post, “Glen has been a good partner and we have learned a lot from him.”
Nevertheless, it’s not clear A-Rod can cash in on the price he’s locked in. That’s partly because NBA rules won’t permit him to become an owner unless he personally can foot the bill for 15% of the total purchase price — nearly $200 million when factoring in the team’s debt — without the help of co-investors.
Meanwhile, if Rodriguez fails to amass a 50% stake, he and his co-investors could end up plowing cash into the team without getting a say in the team’s operations.
In such a nightmare scenario, “You will be a minority to the minority,” a source briefed on the situation warned.
In July 2021, Lore and A-Rod went on a media tour promoting a new business partnership, VCP Ventures.
“We have a lot of similarities,” A-Rod told Bloomberg TV. “We are both from New York. We both have two daughters. We are both mission driven.”
But the only investment VCP publicizes is a $1.9 million commitment in June 2021 to Internet retailer Thoughtful, which provides ways to note and remember important events and details, based on the VCP web-site.
He cleared roughly the same amount, $600 million in pre-tax gains, when he sold on-line shopping site Jet.com to WalMart, two sources said.
Today, Lore has invested heavily in his food delivery startup Wonder, which in June reportedly raised money at a $3.5 billion valuation.