Mark Cuban

Southwest Notes: Mavs’ Sale, Pelicans, H. Jones, Spurs

Mark Cuban’s agreed-upon sale of a majority stake in the Mavericks has been in the works for quite some time, Marc Stein reports in a Substack post.

Cuban informed commissioner Adam Silver last season that he was pursuing the sale with Las Vegas Sands Corp. Cuban will retain control of the Mavericks’ basketball ops, even though he will no longer hold the majority stake if the Board of Governors approves the transaction.

The partnership hopes to build an arena and casino in Dallas if gambling is approved in the state. Cuban told Everton Bailey Jr. of the Dallas Morning News via email that the franchise would remain in Dallas, despite the incoming owners’ Las Vegas roots.

“I will say on the record the team is not moving anywhere,” Cuban wrote. “We are the DALLAS Mavs.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Pelicans advanced to the in-season tournament semifinals on Monday by defeating Sacramento. ESPN’s Andrew Lopez provides details about a team meeting last month held following a five-game losing streak. Larry Nance Jr. called the meeting, which was described as productive. The players were receptive to constructive criticism. “It just felt a little that we could be better. And I thought we did a great job of addressing exactly what we needed to address and walking into the meeting with a clear direction and a path the meeting was supposed to take. And it took that,” Nance said.
  • Herbert Jones displayed his defensive chops against the Kings’ De’Aaron Fox on Monday, hounding the star guard into a 10-for-25 shooting performance and six turnovers. Jones, who is signed through the 2026/27 season after becoming a restricted free agent earlier this year, also supplied 23 points, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune notes. “Herb was everywhere,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “He was flying around. He was blocking shots. He was getting steals, rebounding the ball. We needed that effort across the ball. This was a big-time win.”
  • The addition of Victor Wembanyama hasn’t resolved the Spurs’ defensive issues. Losers of 14 straight, they’re giving up an average of 123.9 points per game and the coaching staff is emphasizing the fundamentals to the young squad. “Now we are starting from it seems like square one, as basic as it gets about where to be in help side, how to guard the ball, taking away the basket first and forcing them to kick out to tougher shots,” guard Tre Jones told Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. “It seems like so many basic things, but some people have never been taught it.”

Mavericks Notes: Cuban, Adelson, Kidd, Doncic, Exum

Mark Cuban reportedly has no plans to exit the basketball side of business despite selling a majority stake of the Mavericks to the Adelson family. Appearing on the Brian Windhorst podcast, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon pointed out that the deal is a big win for Cuban, who gets to both cash in on the franchise and maintain some say in basketball operations.

I don’t know exactly what the language is in the purchase agreement, but one thing I have been told, and the exact word I heard is Cuban will have basketball operations for, quote, ‘forevermore,’” MacMahon said (hat tip to RealGM). “I assume that is agreed to in writing.

It was reported Tuesday that the Adelson family is in the process of buying a major share in the franchise. Cuban is selling the majority stake to billionaire Miriam Adelson – widow of late businessman Sheldon Adelson – and the Adelson family for a valuation in the range of $3.5 billion. Cuban bought the Mavericks for $285MM in 2000.

We have more from the Mavericks:

  • Miriam Adelson is one of the richest women in the world and is adding Mavericks owner to a résumé that includes casino mogul, GOP power broker and United States and Israel newspaper owner, as explored by AP’s Ken Ritter. Adelson is selling $2 billion in stock of casino company Las Vegas Sands Corp., but will still be a majority shareholder. The $3.5 billion purchase of the Mavericks would make Adelson one of just a handful of female U.S. professional sports franchise owners. According to Ritter, her net worth of $32 billion makes her the fifth-richest woman in the U.S. and the 35th-richest billionaire in the world. Adelson has spoken highly of Cuban in the past. “A good person with good values, though he is totally opposite of us in his political views,” Adelson said.
  • Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd took issue with the tone of questions he received from reporters following Dallas’s Tuesday game against the Rockets (Twitter link via HoopsHype). “People will read your positive s–t,” Kidd said. “You don’t always have to be negative, right? Like the world’s already negative enough. So let’s see some positive stuff on some positive people that are playing, doing their job on a nightly basis.
  • Luka Doncic is missing his first game of the season for the birth of his daughter, Gabriela, who was announced to the world on Friday, according to The Dallas Morning News. Doncic is being designated as out for personal reasons for Friday’s game against the Grizzlies. Guard Dante Exum is also out for personal reasons for that matchup.

Latest On Potential Mavericks Sale

Sands Corp. president and chief operating officer Patrick Dumont, son-in-law of Miriam Adelson, will be the family’s “foremost member” if their purchase of the Mavericks is approved by the NBA, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack column.

It’s still not fully clear how much power Mark Cuban will have once he becomes a minority owner, even though it was reported Tuesday that he will continue to run the team’s basketball operations. Stein notes that it’s an unprecedented arrangement, and the Adelson family may want some say in personnel moves once they’re writing the checks.

Stein points out that Cuban has already ceded some decision-making to Nico Harrison, who was hired as general manager in 2021, and CEO Cynthia Marshall, who has been handling business matters since 2018. Even so, Stein found it shocking that Cuban opted to sell the team, considering that he sits near the bench at most games, maintains a visible role in the war room on draft nights, and remains involved in most personnel decisions.

League sources tell Stein that Cuban plans to be “a very active partner” to the Adelsons on basketball matters while letting the family deal with television revenues, real estate ventures and similar issues.

There’s more from Dallas:

  • The Adelson family agreed to purchase the Mavericks with an eye toward legalizing casino gambling in Texas, according to an editorial from The Dallas Morning News. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who has since died, focused on Texas two years ago as the primary spot for expansion, the editorial states. Lobbying money from the Adelson family and other gambling interests has poured into the state, helping to soften any opposition. Cuban is perfect as a “primary stakeholder,” the paper adds, because he has been an advocate for building a casino in downtown Dallas.
  • The Adelson and Dumont families have issued a statement regarding their purchase of the Mavericks, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “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,” it reads in part. “The goal is to win and to have a team that proudly represents the greater DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth) area and serves as a strong and valuable member of the local community.” The families are hoping to close the sale by the end of December.
  • Last year, Cuban cited the Sands Corp. as his ideal partner for a casino and resort destination, per Tim Cato of The Athletic, who notes that the Mavericks can’t leave their current home at the American Airlines Center until their lease expires in 2031.

Mark Cuban To Sell Majority Stake Of Mavs, Retain Control Of Basketball Ops

Mark Cuban is selling a majority stake of the Mavericks franchise but in an unusual arrangement, he’ll retain full control of basketball operations.

The casino tycoon Adelson family is in the process of buying a major share in the franchise, according to Marc Stein (Twitter link). Cuban is selling the majority stake to billionaire Miriam Adelson – widow of late businessman Sheldon Adelson – and the Adelson family for a valuation in the range of $3.5 billion, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Cuban bought the Mavericks for $285MM in 2000.

In an SEC filing, Sheldon Adelson’s family said it is selling $1.9 billion in Las Vegas Sands stock to buy a “majority interest in a professional sports franchise.” It also stated that a deal is in place, pending league approval, Eben-Novy Williams of Sportico tweets. The sale of the Mavs would have to be approved by the league’s Board of Governors.

Earlier this year, Mat Ishbia and his group paid $2.28 billion for a 57% stake of the Suns. That’s the equivalent of a $4 billion valuation.

Cuban and the Las Vegas Sands Corporation had already planned to form a partnership to build an arena and casino in the Dallas area if gambling is legalized in Texas, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News notes.

“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,” Cuban said last year. “That’s the mission.”

Cuban, 65, is one of the most recognizable owners in any professional sport. He’s got a variety of business ventures and is the star of the TV show “Shark Tank,” though word broke on Monday that he’ll be leaving the ABC show next year.

Cuban Says Mavs Tried To Land Tyrese Haliburton In 2020 Draft

Appearing on Patrick Beverley‘s podcast, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Dallas did everything it could to trade up for Tyrese Haliburton in the 2020 draft (Twitter video link).

ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported last year that Dallas attempted to move up ahead of 2020’s draft in order to land Haliburton, offering the Knicks Jalen Brunson, the No. 18 overall pick (Josh Green) and the No. 31 overall pick (Tyrell Terry) for No. 8 overall that year. The Mavs were unable to find a taker, including the Knicks, who selected Obi Toppin at No. 8.

Interestingly, both Haliburton — who fell to Sacramento at No. 12 — and Toppin now play for the Pacers, while Brunson joined the Knicks in free agency last summer.

It’s noteworthy that Cuban essentially confirmed MacMahon’s report, and the fact that he specifically mentioned Haliburton by name means the Mavs could face a penalty for tampering. The NBA often hands out fines when team executives publicly express any sort of praise or fondness for a rival player.

Cuban also noted that Dallas was coached by Rick Carlisle in 2020, who rejoined the Pacers the following year after parting ways with Dallas. Indiana subsequently traded for Haliburton at the 2022 deadline — about eight months after Carlisle was hired.

An All-Star for the first time in 2022/23, Haliburton averaged 20.7 PPG, 10.4 APG, 3.4 RPG and 1.6 SPG on a stellar .490/.400/.871 shooting line in 56 games (33.6 MPG) for Indiana. The 23-year-old signed a five-year, rookie scale max extension with the Pacers this offseason, so he’s under contract until 2029 (the extension starts in ’24/25).

Haliburton and Brunson are currently competing for Team USA at the 2023 World Cup. Green is also at the World Cup playing for the Australian national team, which has clinched a spot in the 2024 Olympics. The Mavs reportedly opened rookie scale extension talks with the 22-year-old wing a couple weeks ago.

Mavs Notes: Elimination, Draft Pick, Luka, THJ, Kyrie

Entering the day on Friday, the Mavericks could still have secured a play-in spot if they’d won their last two games of the season and the Thunder lost to Memphis on Sunday. However, Dallas essentially decided to throw in the towel on its chase for a postseason berth, sitting a number of regulars (including Kyrie Irving) and limiting Luka Doncic to essentially a quarter of action.

Unsurprisingly, the Mavericks did indeed lose their game to Chicago, officially eliminating them from the play-in hunt. As Tim MacMahon of ESPN writes, head coach Jason Kidd told reporters before the game that the decision was made by team owner Mark Cuban and general manager Nico Harrison.

“We were fighting for our lives, and understanding this is a situation we’re in, but the organization has made the decision to change,” Kidd said. “So, you know, we have to go by that and that’s something that happens. So the guys that are playing, we got to go out there and put our best foot forward, and we talked about that this afternoon.”

Speaking after the game, Kidd said that the move was less about “waving the white flag” and more about prioritizing the future.

“It’s decisions sometimes are hard in this business,” he said, per MacMahon. “We’re trying to build a championship team. With this decision, this is maybe a step back. But hopefully it leads to going forward.”

Asked if he agreed with the decision to prioritize the future instead of the present by sitting players on Friday, Kidd replied, “Those are my bosses, so yes.”

Kidd confirmed after Friday’s loss that Doncic and Irving definitely won’t be playing in Sunday’s regular season finale, with other regulars likely to join them on the sidelines (Twitter link via Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News).

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • As Tim Cato of The Athletic observes, one more loss on Sunday would ensure that the Mavericks finish with sole control of the NBA’s 10th-worst record. That would give them approximately an 80% chance of hanging onto the top-10 protected first-round pick they owe the Knicks — there would be about a 20% chance of a team near the bottom of the lottery standings leapfrogging them and pushing them out of the top 10, in which case they’d have to send the pick to New York.
  • Within a separate story about what’s next in Dallas, MacMahon says there’s a “strong sense of urgency” to expedite the process of building a contender around Doncic. Team sources have admitted there’s concern that Luka could request a trade as soon as the summer of 2024 if Dallas doesn’t take a significant step forward by then, MacMahon reports.
  • Appearing on The Carton Show on FS1 (Twitter video link), Tim Hardaway Sr. said that Doncic and Irving aren’t leaders, and referred to Doncic as a “crybaby” due to his frequent in-game complaints to referees. As Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News writes, Mavericks wing Tim Hardaway Jr. asked to speak to reporters in order to distance himself from those comments. “I disagree with it 1000%,” the younger Hardaway said, stressing that his views both Doncic and Irving as good leaders. “… It’s disappointing that I have to come out here and say (this). I love him to death, like I said, my dad. He made a mistake. It’s his opinion, not mine. We’re two different human beings, so that’s really all I can say.”
  • In the most recent episode of the Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Tim Bontemps, and MacMahon discussed Irving’s upcoming free agency, debating whether or not Kyrie holds most of the leverage as he enters free agency (hat tip to RealGM). MacMahon and Bontemps believe Irving is in a good position to command a long-term maximum-salary deal from the Mavs, while Windhorst questioned whether there are any teams that will have the cap flexibility and the desire to make a play for Kyrie and put pressure on Dallas.

Mavs’ Cuban Talks Irving, Wood, Brunson, Kidd, Doncic, More

Speaking to the media ahead of Wednesday’s game against Sacramento, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban touched on a number of topics.

Cuban said the team acquired guard Kyrie Irving at the February trade deadline with the goal of keeping him around “long term,” as veteran reporter Marc Stein relays (Twitter links). Cuban added he thought the Mavs had “a good shot” at retaining Irving, who will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.

When asked if he thought Irving was worth a maximum-salary contract, Cuban replied, “I’m not going to negotiate with you,” tweets ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. The longtime owner said re-signing Irving is the team’s top offseason priority, but was noncommittal on big man Christian Wood, another potential free agent.

I’m not going to go through individual players,” Cuban said, per MacMahon (Twitter link).

Both of the Mavericks’ star guards — Luka Doncic and Irving — will be available for Wednesday’s game, the team announced (via Twitter).

Here’s more from Cuban’s media session:

  • Cuban claims the Mavs “never had the opportunity” to give former guard Jalen Brunson a four-year, $56MM extension in January 2022, tweets Stein. Dallas’ owner went on to explain that Brunson’s camp was looking for a deal in the range of $18-23MM annually in early February 2022, but the Mavs could only offer him $14MM per year due to the limitations on veteran extensions, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter links). As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter), the Mavs technically could have given him a deal in the $18-23MM range after the 2022 trade deadline, when Brunson was eligible to renegotiate his contract, but they would have had to clear $25MM+ in salaries in order to do so.
  • As for last summer, when Brunson signed a four-year, $104MM contract with the Knicks, Cuban claims Brunson’s side never gave the Mavs a number he would accept, per Townsend (Twitter links). The Mavs had Brunson’s Bird rights, so they theoretically could have offered him more years and more money than a rival team. Cuban added that he had a strong relationship with Brunson and his agents, but “things went south” when Brunson’s father, Rick, took over the contract negotiations (Twitter link via MacMahon).
  • It seems odd that Rick Brunson was ever in charge of negotiations, considering he was finalizing a deal to be an assistant coach with the Knicks on June 2, and free agents couldn’t sign until June 30. The elder Brunson previously worked under Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota, but resigned from the Wolves after allegations of improper conduct toward women, which he and his lawyer denied.
  • Cuban’s tone regarding the Brunson situation was markedly different last summer, notes Fred Katz of The Athletic (via Twitter). Last July, a week after Jalen Brunson signed with the Knicks, Cuban said he had “no hard feelings” about Brunson leaving and that the guard had “earned the right to make a decision as a free agent” (link via Zach Braziller of The New York Post).
  • According to Townsend (Twitter links), Cuban took responsibility for the Mavs’ poor season and for not recognizing they needed more help defensively, as the team has dropped from seventh to 23rd in defensive rating. “It’s absolutely my fault for not recognizing that,” he said. Cuban also said that the team plans to bring back head coach Jason Kidd next season.
  • Cuban, who has owned the team since 2000, said he believes Doncic wants to spend his entire NBA career with the Mavs, “but we have to earn that” (Twitter link via MacMahon). Doncic has expressed frustration and disappointment with how the season has gone and recently said he missed Jalen Brunson “a lot.”

Mavericks To Protest Loss To Warriors

The Mavericks plan to file an official protest with the league office after tonight’s 127-125 loss to the Warriors, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The protest is in response to an alleged officiating error late in the third quarter that led to an uncontested basket for Golden State (video link from The Athletic). All five Dallas players were on the opposite side of the court as the Warriors inbounded the ball, resulting in an easy dunk for Kevon Looney.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban provided an explanation of the play (via Twitter), claiming the referees informed his team that it would have the ball after a stoppage in play.

“For those wondering about the play with 1:54 to go on the 3rd, let me explain what happened,” Cuban wrote. “The ref called Mavs ball. The announcer announced it. Then there was a timeout. During the time out the official changed the call and never told us. Then when they saw us line up as if it were our ball, he just gave the ball to the Warriors. Never said a word to us. They got an easy basketball. Crazy that it would matter in a 2 point game. Worst officiating non call mistake possibly in the history of the NBA. All they had to do was tell us and they didn’t.”

Mavericks coach Jason Kidd also addressed the play in his post-game press conference, claiming that officials didn’t handle the situation properly (Twitter link from Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News).

“If there’s confusion, it’s easy to just come in and blow the whistle and get us restarted,” Kidd said. “Because it was confusion. Understanding that we thought it was our ball, the referee pointed towards our bench. That was the signal of the timeout, but there was confusion on the play before it even started with whose ball it was because he pointed, I thought, to us first. Then he changed it and then went to a timeout, and pointed to us.”

In a tweet from the league, crew chief Sean Wright explained why officials handled the play the way they did.

“Initially on the floor the original signal was in fact Golden State ball as this can be seen on video,” Wright said.  “There is a second signal but that signal is for a mandatory timeout that was due to the Mavs.”

Under NBA rules, notice of the protest must be submitted to the commissioner’s office within 48 hours of the end of the game. Both teams will have five days to submit evidence to the NBA after the protest is filed, and commissioner Adam Silver will then have an additional five days to make a ruling.

No team has been successful in protesting a game since 2008, notes NBA writer Marc Stein (Twitter link).

Southwest Notes: Irving, Doncic, Brooks, Popovich

Before he took the court for his first game with the Mavericks Wednesday night, Kyrie Irving talked to reporters about what went wrong in Brooklyn, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Irving said there were times he felt “very disrespected” by the Nets during his tumultuous three and a half years with the organization. He admitted he was at an impasse with the team in extension negotiations and claimed he wasn’t “getting transparency and honesty from people in the front office.”

“I worked extremely hard at what I do,” Irving said. “No one ever talks about my work ethic though. Everyone talks about what I’m doing off the floor. So I just wanted to change that narrative, write my own story.”

Irving’s off-court behavior dominated the headlines during his time in Brooklyn, highlighted by his inability to play for much of last season due to his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine and his suspension in November for his online promotion of an antisemitic film. Irving added that he wishes he had done more research on the Nets’ front office before he and Kevin Durant opted to sign with the team in 2019.

“I left them in fourth place — I did what I was supposed to do,” he said. “I took care of my teammates, was incredibly, incredibly selfless. And in my approach to leading, I just want to do all the right things for myself, not to appease anybody.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • It didn’t take long for Irving to impress his new Mavericks coaches and teammates, notes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. With Luka Doncic missing his third straight game due to a right heel contusion, Irving delivered 24 points and five assists in a road win against the Clippers. “That’s how talented he is,” head coach Jason Kidd said. “He makes things look easy. He works on his craft. He’s a pro, up for any challenge.”
  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban expressed confidence that Irving and Doncic can work together despite both being ball-dominant guards and said Doncic was fully on board with making the trade, per Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. “Go for it. We need talent,” Cuban responded when asked about Doncic’s stance on the deal. “He’s a Hall of Fame player, and I’d love to play with talent. Why would you not want to play with him?”
  • Dillon Brooks‘ teammates came to his defense after he was booed by the home crowd Tuesday in the midst of a bad shooting night, according to Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Brooks’ combination of erratic offense and tenacious defense makes him a polarizing player among Grizzlies fans, creating a difficult decision for general manager Zach Kleiman on whether to try to trade him before today’s deadline.
  • The Spurs made one significant trade late Wednesday night, sending Jakob Poeltl to the Raptors, and longtime coach Gregg Popovich said he has confidence in general manager Brian Wright’s ability to reshape the team, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News.

Jason Kidd: Irving’s Talents Needed For Championship Run

Coach Jason Kidd brushed off criticism of the Mavericks’ acquisition of Kyrie Irving, saying that the team now has a much better shot at winning a title, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon writes.

“We feel that the talent and his abilities to make us better are something that we needed,” Kidd said. “We feel that getting him is going to help put us in a position to win a championship.”

The deal with the Nets became official earlier today. Irving flew to Dallas on Monday and could make his Mavericks debut on Wednesday against the Clippers. He won’t play with new backcourt partner Luka Doncic immediately, however. Doncic will remain sidelined on Wednesday by a heel contusion, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Callie Caplan.

Once the duo takes the court together, Kidd expects the Mavs to be even more dangerous than they were last year when Doncic and Jalen Brunson led the team to the Western Conference Finals, Caplan writes.

“He’s played with the best players in the world, and he’s had success doing that,” Kidd said of Irving. “To give Luka an opportunity to come down the court without having to dribble or run every play, this gives us an opportunity to do different things. We look back at when we had [Jalen Brunson], being able to have a playmaker like that. When you look at Ky — nothing against JB — but Ky is at a different level, so this gives us another weapon. Someone’s going to be free. Someone’s going to have the advantage.”

Kidd doesn’t seem too concerned about Irving’s past issues and unpredictable moods. Irving idolized Kidd growing up and they developed a friendship while sharing a personal trainer, Robin Pound. Irving also attended Kidd’s Hall of Fame induction.

“He’s all about basketball,” Kidd said. “He wants to win, and he wants to be coached, and this is a great opportunity for me to have someone like this to help.”

Kidd also predicts that Doncic will benefit from not having to bear such a heavy burden. Doncic’s usage rate is highest among all NBA guards.

“It’s going to come down. And that’s a healthy thing. It’s not a bad thing. … Actually, he’ll be stronger in the fourth (quarter),” Kidd said. “The team will be better. Then the trust between the two — it’s going to take some time to get that rhythm and trust, but Kai is about winning.”

Dallas owner Mark Cuban also feels the team is much more dangerous offensively with the addition of Irving, Caplan reports in a separate story. Cuban believes that will override the loss of defensive ace Dorian Finney-Smith, who was part of Dallas’ package.

“They are the two players in the NBA that are most able to get anywhere they want on the court,” Cuban said. “They can create their own shots and finish every which way. That should make us incredibly potent on the offensive end. And while it’s going to be tough to fill Dorian’s shoes defensively, we think Josh (Green) will be able to step in and take advantage of the increased minutes he will be getting.”