Mark Cuban once proclaimed he would turn down any offer to sell the Dallas Mavericks.
He told Bill Simmons in 2016 that even if he was offered $3 billion for the Mavs, he’d pass.
“What do I need $3 billion for?” Cuban asked.
Simmons should have asked Cuban if would sell the Mavs for $3.5 billion.
On Tuesday evening, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Cuban plans to sell a “majority stake of the Dallas Mavericks to Miriam Adelson and casino tycoon Adelson family for valuation in range of $3.5 billion. In one of most unique setups in NBA history, Cuban keeps shares in team and full control of basketball operations.”
This is indeed odd.
This all but spells out what has been known about the Mavs for years: The real GM of the Mavs is Cuban.
Adelson and her family are the largest stakeholders in Las Vegas Sands, the world’s largest casino company. Miriam Adelson is ranked by Forbes as the fifth wealthiest woman in the world; she is the widow to Sheldon Aldeson, who founded the company.
The buy-in effectively allows the Las Vegas Sands to own a controlling interest in the private company Mavericks, while allowing Cuban to run the franchise like he has for the last 20-plus years.
Sands is a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange (LVS, $47.66 per share as of Tuesday at close). This acquisition could potentially mean a major pro sports team’s finances are public record for the first time ever.
Not sure how the NBA is going to feel about that part.
The move comes shortly after Cuban announced that he plans to leave the popular TV show, “Shark Tank,” after this, its 16th season.
Cuban is 65, and this means a few things. He wants to cut back his schedule, and responsibilities as primary owner of the Mavs, and the time needed to shoot Shark Tank.
There is the 0.00000001 percent chance is opening his schedule to run for President of the United States.
The more likely scenario is he wants to focus just on the basketball, with the chance that he wants to be involved in casinos whenever Texas finally legalizes pro sports betting.
Cuban is among many of the major sports owners in Texas who are lobbying Austin law makers to join the rest of the country in legalizing gambling.
He has also been vocal in wanting to build a new arena in downtown Dallas for the Mavericks after the lease with the American Airlines Center expires in 2031. It’s thought that a new building would include space for gaming.
Since he bought the Mavs in January of 2000 from Ross Perot Jr. for a then-record $285 million, Cuban has been the handiest of “hands on” owners.
He loves basketball, and running the Mavericks with a first, and final, say on personnel.
After he bought the team, the Mavs have been a consistently relevant franchise for the longest stretch in their history.
With Dirk Nowiztki, the Mavs were a routinely a 50-win contender every year; they made the NBA Finals in 2006, and won the championship in 2011.
Under Cuban the Mavs have made bold moves, and the only real consistent misses they have had are trying to acquire big time free agents. They have made plenty of trades, but signing the sexy free agent hasn’t happened.
Cuban may be selling off majority shares of the Mavericks to a resort and casino company, but do not expect much else to change about how this team looks and functions for a while.
There could be some changes on the business side, and how the Mavs market themselves.
The real change will come whenever he decides he no longer wants “full control of basketball operations.”