In stunning news out of the NBA, Mark Cuban is selling a majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks to Miriam Adelson, wife of the late Sheldon Adelson, and the Adelson family. Adelson, who is the controlling shareholder of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., is selling about $2 billion of Sands stock to fund the purchase. The Dumont family is also a partner in the team’s acquisition.

Once the stock sale closes, Las Vegas Sands will rebuy about 5.8 million shares for around $250 million.

Cuban is arguably the most visible NBA team owner, so the news that he will no longer have a controlling stake in the team after a quarter century is a bit shocking. Interestingly, he also announced this week that he was leaving the hit television show “Shark Tank” after 16 seasons.

It is also an underpay by Adelson and the Dumonts, as it is based on a franchise valuation of about $3.5 billion, yet Forbes listed the Mavericks as worth $4.5 billion last year, the seventh-highest valuation in the NBA.

One thing that might explain Cuban’s willingness to take less than he otherwise should is that he will still retain operational control of the organization. Cuban is known as one of the most hands-on owners in sports. Had Miriam Adelson wanted to control the operations – or put her own person/people in place – Cuban may have negotiated for a bigger payday.

That Mark Cuban sold to Miriam Adelson is no coincidence. He has a long-standing relationship with the family (and billionaires socialize with billionaries) – the Adelsons presented him with the In Pursuit of Excellence Award in at a scholarship fundraising gala in 2017.

And for years, Cuban has been saying that he wants to build a new arena attached to a wider entertainment district, which would include a casino. Casino gambling is not legal in Texas, though. Cuban has lobbied state lawmakers to try to make it so.

Just about a year ago, he told The Dallas Morning News, “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. That’s the mission.”

The Dallas Mavericks franchise was founded in 1980, but never had much sustained success until Cuban bought the team from Ross Perot, Jr. in 2000 for $285 million. They immediately became contenders until Cuban’s ownership and have only missed the playoffs four times in over two decades.

The Mavericks have made the NBA finals twice under Cuban (and in franchise history, period). They lost to the Miami Heat in 2006 and got their revenge in 2011, beating the Heat to win the team’s only NBA title.

Image credit: / Gage Skidmore

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