In a surprise move on Tuesday evening, Dallas Mavericks team owner in the franchise to Miriam Adelson. As one of the most prominent governors in the NBA — as well as one of the most outspoken — Cuban’s decision to sell a majority stake in the Mavericks was unexpected, but Marc Stein reports that he’ll still retain full control of basketball operations.
While that may be true, this move still leaves a lot of questions about the Mavericks’ future as Cuban will no longer be the majority owner. The league still needs to approve the sale, but assuming it goes through, let’s take a look at some of the biggest questions surrounding this sale after Cuban’s decision.
1. How much control will Cuban retain as a minority owner?
This is going to be the biggest question on the table, and one that won’t be answered right now. Cuban may remain the face of the Mavericks ownership group for the time being as the sale gets worked out and the Adelson’s familiarize themselves as governors in the NBA, but it’s a bit confusing to think about how a minority owner would still have the biggest voice about how the money is being spent. However, in the Adelson’s official statement about their decision to acquire a majority ownership in the Mavericks they did specifically say how they’re looking forward to partnering with Cuban going forward.
“…The Adelson and Dumont families are honored to have the opportunity to be stewards of this great franchise. 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 in beyond.”
What that partnership looks like remains to be seen, and the Adelson’s will surely rely on Cuban’s expertise of owning a team to start, but you can’t help but look as this as Cuban ceding some control with this sale. He’s no longer the one with the deepest pockets in Dallas’ war room, so what happens when other opinions need to be considered on major decisions, like dipping into the luxury tax to sign a player. These are the kind of decisions that will be interesting to see play out once all of this becomes official.
2. Could Mavs move to Vegas? Or bring some of Vegas to Dallas?
The Adelson family are the largest shareholders of Las Vegas Sands Corp, a company that owns and runs casinos and resorts in Vegas and internationally. So it’s natural to wonder if this could mean a potential move to Sin City for the Mavericks, especially as the NBA has long been rumored to earmark Las Vegas as a potential location for an expansion team. But there’s several reasons to suggest why that likely won’t happen, chief among them this quote from Cuban in the Dallas Morning News back in December 2022:
“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.”
Specifically naming “Las Vegas Sands” shows how long this deal has been in the works, and while Cuban didn’t say that he’d want to build a new arena in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, he said earlier this month how he wants to help turn Texas, and specifically Dallas, into a tourist destination. Given that information, and the fact that Cuban has been perhaps the most passionate team owner since he bought the Mavericks in 2000, it’s unlikely that he would sell a majority stake to someone who had plans of moving the Mavericks out of Dallas.
3. So why did Cuban sell a majority stake?
Until Cuban makes a statement on the sale we won’t officially know why he made this stunning decision. But given his quotes in the past about wanting to build a new arena for the Mavericks in the middle of a resort/casino, and talking about wanting to bring gambling to Texas, his partnership with Adelson makes sense. Adelson has a net worth of $32.3 billion, which if this sale goes through, would make her the third richest owner in all of American professional sports, right behind Clippers governor Steve Ballmer and Denver Broncos owner Rob Walton. That immediate influx of cash would certainly help the Mavericks build a new arena, especially one as grand as Cuban is describing.
Separating the basketball side of things and the business side might’ve also enticed Cuban, as Stein reports that he is “determined” to remain an active partner with basketball operations, while “happily letting” the Adelson’s “focus on the pursuit of TV money, real-estate plays for the franchise, their continued efforts to lobby Texas lawmakers to legalize gambling, etc.”
If this works out the way it has been described, with Cuban retaining full — or at least most — control of the Mavericks from the basketball operations side, then all he really did was just bring in someone with more money and power than him to help accomplish his goals for the Mavericks’ future in Dallas.