Mark Cuban’s pending surprise sale of the Dallas Mavericks sent shockwaves through the NBA.
The front-facing billionaire — a courtside staple at the American Airlines Center and one of the NBA’s most well-known owners — famously said he would never sell his beloved team, telling Bill Simmons in 2016 he’d turn down any offer.
“What do I need $3 billion for?” Cuban remarked at the time on HBO’s “Any Given Wednesday.”
Yet there Cuban was Tuesday, at the center of reports saying he plans to sell his majority Mavericks stake to the deep-pocketed casino mogul Miriam Adelson and her family for around $3.5 billion, according to The Athletic.
Under the agreement, Cuban, who purchased the Mavs for $285 million in 2000, will retain control of basketball operations in an usual set-up for an NBA team, according to basketball insider Marc Stein. Cuban will also remain a minority owner.
“The families are targeting a closing of the transaction by year-end, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and approval of the NBA Board of Governors,” the families of Adelson and of Patrick Dumont, her son-in-law and the COO of Las Vegas Sands, said in a joint statement Wednesday.
So what are the Mavericks getting in Adelson? Should the NBA approve the sale, the Mavs would suddenly belong to one of the league’s richest owners.
Adelson, the widow of former Las Vegas Sands founder Sheldon Adelson, and her family remain the majority owners of the gambling superpower, which operates casinos in both hemispheres.
Earlier this year, Forbes listed Adelson as the 24th-richest person in the world, with her family’s net worth reaching $35 billion at one point. On Wednesday, Adelson remained 44th on Forbes’ real-time billionaires list with a fortune of $31.7 billion.
The Israeli-born Adelson, 78, is a major donor to the GOP. She and her late husband contributed $133 million to the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump, who gave Miriam a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018, according to NBC News.
The Mavericks deal represents a nice payday for Cuban, whose $6.2 billion net worth ranked 440th in the world as of Wednesday, according to Forbes. It also bolsters his bond with an integral ally in the casino realm, which Cuban wants to bring to Dallas.
Last year, Cuban told The Dallas Morning News he hopes to build a new Mavericks arena within a gambling and entertainment complex, even though casinos are currently outlawed in Texas.
“My goal, and we’d partner with Las Vegas Sands, is when we build a new arena, it’ll be in the middle of a resort and casino,” Cuban said at the time. “That’s the mission.”
Cuban, 65, also revealed last week on Showtime’s “All the Smoke” podcast that he expects next year to be his last on CNBC’s deal-making entrepreneur show “Shark Tank.”
Unless he adds another venture, Cuban’s focus can largely narrow to the basketball side of the Mavericks, whose general manager is former Nike executive Nico Harrison. Under Cuban, the Mavericks won the 2011 NBA Finals and are again a contender in the Western Conference behind a star-powered backcourt of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.
Some fans speculated Cuban’s sale would clear the way for him to run for president, though the billionaire told NBC News over the summer he wouldn’t do so in 2024.
Of course, Cuban also said he would never sell the Mavericks.