LAS VEGAS (AP) — Mark Cuban in many ways has been the face of the Dallas Mavericks franchise since he bought the club in 2000, so the news that he was selling a majority share to perhaps Las Vegas' most powerful family created a number of questions.
Adelson, 78, is a medical doctor and widow of Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire founder and owner of Las Vegas Sands who died in 2021. She has no corporate role with the company, but her son-in-law, Patrick Dumont, is the company president and a board member.
Adelson and her family own the Las Vegas Sands and Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada’s largest newspaper. She also is the publisher of Israel Hayom, a Hebrew-language free daily newspaper distributed widely in the country where she was born that is friendly to prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Adelson and her family are major players in the Republican Party in the U.S., and she and her late husband were among the biggest contributors to the campaigns of former President Donald Trump.
Las Vegas Sands sold The Venetian, Palazzo and Venetian Expo Center in Las Vegas in February 2022 for $6.25 billion to private equity firm Apollo Global Management and real estate investment trust VICI Properties. The convention hall was previously known as the Sands Expo and Convention Center.
The Adelson family was initially involved in efforts that in 2020 brought the NFL Raiders from Oakland, California, to Las Vegas, but pulled out of a $650 million pledge to finance the stadium. The Raiders were able to complete the deal to build what would become Allegiant Stadium after a loan from Bank of America.
It's doubtful Adelson would try to move the Mavericks to Las Vegas, especially since Cuban will retain responsibility over basketball operations. It's more likely the city would land an expansion team. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in July that the league would need to finish negotiating the next media-rights deal and then would turn its attention to potential expansion.
“There’s no doubt that there’s enormous interest in this (Las Vegas) market,” Silver said at the time.
Adelson’s goal of legalizing gambling in Texas is no secret.
She pumped more than $2 million last year into a political action committee, called Texas Sands, which donated lavishly to state legislators and swarmed the GOP-controlled state Capitol with lobbyists. She also gave another $1 million separately to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
But the spending blitz failed to deliver a breakthrough this year in the Texas Legislature, where resistance to legalizing casinos runs deep. Texas already has a billionaire NBA owner who is a casino operator, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, who also supports bringing casinos to his home state but has watched lawmakers sink the idea year after year.
Underlining the political hurdles, the Texas GOP passed a resolution in March that renewed opposition among party activists, saying the purported benefits to allowing casinos “fail to overcome the substantial economic and social costs.”
Because Cuban is leaving the popular TV show “Shark Tank” after 16 years in addition to selling his majority stake in the Mavericks, speculation online wondered if this portends a move into politics.
Cuban's own history has long fueled whether he has such a move in his future. He considered a presidential run in 2020 as an independent, and Cuban has long been an outspoken critic of Trump, who is projected to be a top contender to reclaim the Republican nomination next year.
But Cuban poured cold water on such talk Wednesday by telling NBC News he has "no plans" to launch a campaign.
“My family would disown me,” he told the network in an email.
It's possible Cuban has an interest in making an impact in an entirely different field and will announce those plans at a later time. He also could simply decide to take a step back from the public eye.
It’s standard for the NBA to take several weeks and put the prospective new buyer of any franchise through a rigorous vetting process, going through not just financial records but anything and everything that might be problematic.
After that vetting occurs, the Board of Governors votes to decide whether or not to approve the sale. By that point, the “yes” vote is typically just a formality.
A statement by the Adelsons said they were hoping to complete the transaction by the end of the year.
It also would seem possible that the sale could be finalized by the All-Star break in mid-February when Silver holds a news conference to discuss league matters. Silver will also likely address the potential sale at the In-Season Tournament in Las Vegas when he speaks there during the Dec. 7-9 weekend.
AP Pro Basketball writer Tim Reynolds and AP writers Ken Ritter in Las Vegas and Paul Weber in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.
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