The NBA has officially approved the sale of a controlling interest in the Dallas Mavericks from Mark Cuban to the families behind the Las Vegas Sands casino company.
The deal, which values the Mavericks at approximately $3.5 billion, comes just under a month after the announcement of the intention to purchase the basketball team by the families of Miriam Adelson and Sivan and Patrick Dumont.
Patrick Dumont, son-in-law of Miriam Adelson and the president and COO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., will take on the role of Mavericks governor. Meanwhile, Mark Cuban is expected to retain control of basketball operations, ensuring that there will be no relocation of the franchise from Dallas.
Cuban has expressed his desire to partner with Las Vegas Sands in a long-term plan to construct an arena in downtown Dallas that would also incorporate a hotel and casino.
In a joint statement, the Adelson and Dumont families said, “Through our commitment and additional investment in the team, we look forward to partnering with Mark Cuban to build on the team’s success and legacy in Dallas and beyond. The goal is to win and to have a team that proudly represents the greater DFW area and serves as a strong and valuable member of the local community.”
While gambling is currently illegal in Texas, Miriam Adelson has taken strides to promote casino gambling within the state. She contributed over $2 million last year to a political-action committee called Texas Sands, which supported state legislators and lobbied the GOP-controlled Texas Legislature. Additionally, she personally donated $1 million to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. However, these efforts did not result in the legalization of casinos this year, as strong resistance persists within the state legislature.
The Sale of the Dallas Mavericks: Mark Cuban’s Future Uncertain
Texas already has a billionaire NBA owner who is a casino operator in Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, who also supports bringing casinos to his home state but has watched lawmakers sink the idea year after year.
Last month, news of the sale of the Mavericks broke, hours after Las Vegas Sands announced that Adelson was selling $2 billion of her shares to buy an unspecified professional-sports team.
Cuban’s Spotlight Diminished?
It remains to be seen how the sale will affect Cuban’s place in the spotlight.
While the 65-year-old likely will continue to make basketball decisions, the sale comes as he is stepping away from the popular business TV reality show “Shark Tank” after a 16th season next year.
Cuban was a highly visible owner almost from the day he bought the team in 2000. He never hesitated to speak his mind, for many years meeting with reporters while he worked on an exercise machine before most home games.
From Worst to Best
The NBA has fined Cuban millions of dollars through the years, often for his criticism of officiating but more recently for comments about tanking for draft picks.
Dallas was one of the worst franchises in pro sports in the 1990s but turned into one of the best under Cuban, with a lot of help from star forward Dirk Nowitzki — now a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and the leader of the team that won the 2011 NBA championship.
A Passionate Owner
A self-professed basketball junkie who graduated from Indiana University, Cuban is almost always courtside for Mavericks games.
The spotlight may not fade much if Cuban has a role in trying to push casino gambling through the Texas Legislature in the coming years.