Reports suggest that Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is in talks to sell a significant stake in the NBA franchise to the family behind the Las Vegas Sands casino company. Sources indicate the potential deal might hover around a valuation of $3.5 billion and could take several weeks for league approval, as per an individual familiar with the negotiations who spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday night on the condition of anonymity.
Cuban’s purported deal would retain his control over basketball operations within the franchise. The discussions, first reported by NBA reporter Marc Stein, center around the company controlled by Miriam Adelson, widow of casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson. The Adelson family announced intentions to sell $2 billion worth of shares to acquire an unspecified professional sports team.
Cuban had expressed interest in collaborating with Sands nearly a year ago, particularly in light of his advocacy for legalizing gambling in Texas. However, legislative efforts toward this cause in the state didn’t progress during the session earlier this year.
Cuban, 65, gained prominence after his swift rise following the acquisition of the Mavericks in 2000. Under his ownership, the team transformed from one of the worst in the 1990s to a top-performing franchise, notably aided by basketball star Dirk Nowitzki’s contributions.
Miriam Adelson, controlling shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp., previously involved in constructing the Venetian and Palazzo resorts, focuses primarily on casino operations in Macau and Singapore. Following Sheldon Adelson’s passing in 2021, the recent announcement of selling $2 billion in stock was made through a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The filing hinted at the acquisition of a majority interest in a professional sports franchise, subject to standard league approvals. If the entirety of the $2 billion contributes to the purchase, it could indicate Adelson acquiring at least 57% ownership based on the estimated $3.5 billion valuation.
The vetting process for new owners in the NBA usually spans several weeks, followed by approval from the league’s Board of Governors. Cuban’s interests in building a new downtown arena in Dallas, potentially a casino resort, align with his previous statements about Texas legalizing gambling.
Though efforts to legalize gambling in Texas faced hurdles in the legislative process, Cuban’s continual involvement in basketball operations and advocacy for the cause could sustain his public presence in sports, business, and finance circles, where he has remained a prominent figure for nearly a quarter-century.