Mark Cuban interested in Dodgers
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is interested in buying the Dodgers, but only for the right amount.
"It all comes down to price," Cuban wrote Wednesday morning in an email to ESPNLosAngeles.com. "It's important to have more than enough money to pay players and invest in the organization."
Cuban inquired about buying the Dodgers from current owner Frank McCourt recently, but backed off because McCourt's asking price of $1 billion to $1.2 billion was too high, the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday.
Later Tuesday night, McCourt and Major League Baseball reached an agreement to sell the Dodgers, along with Dodger Stadium and the surrounding real estate.
Cuban has tried unsuccessfully to purchase the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers. In August 2010, an investment group led by Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan beat out Cuban in a bankruptcy auction for the Rangers with a bid of nearly $600 million.
Baseball had cleared Cuban and Jim Crane to participate in the auction, but not as a partner who would have a controlling interest. "There would have been significant opposition to him as a 'control guy,'" one source in baseball's inner circle told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark in August.
Others interested in buying the Dodgers include former Dodger greats Steve Garvey and Orel Hershiser previous Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley.
"I want to reconnect the team and the community," O'Malley said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "I am confident I can restore it to respectability quicker, sooner and probably better than -- or at least as well as -- anyone else."
Garvey has been working to assemble his investment group for over two years.
"What we know today is that Major League Baseball will do a series of pre-approvals. We look forward to that process," Garvey said on 710 ESPNLA's "Mason and Ireland" show Wednesday afternoon. "As they say, the game's on and we're ready."
Cuban's tendency to speak his mind about officials, rival teams and players has earned him numerous fines from NBA commissioner David Stern over the years. However Lakers executive vice president Jeanie Buss, one of his fiercest competitive rivals, told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Wednesday that she was "delighted to endorse him" as an owner, should he pursue the Dodgers.
"Mark is dedicated to his team and his fan base," Buss said. "Some may say he goes over the top but there is a direct correlation between season ticket renewals and the faith fans have in ownership.
"He has put his reputation on the line for his team so fans feel comfortable devoting their time and resources to the Mavs because he does. When I hear someone criticize Mark, I ask them to name the person who owned the team before him. They never can."
Buss has worked closely with Cuban on several NBA ownership committees, including the labor relations committee working to reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement with the players union.
"He has been a tireless member of several committees on behalf of NBA owners, putting his own personal agenda aside to focus on larger issues that concern the entire league," Buss said. "Some say he pays the luxury tax so he can win a championship -- well, he won. But if you look at it, one of their best, highest-paid players was out most of the season so if you take away his salary, the Mavs were almost below the tax threshold.
"What he did was piece together a team of parts that became a much bigger whole. He committed to his coach and supported the system he used which help bring together a roster of stars and role players. Almost like a basketball 'Moneyball.'"
The Mavericks, of course, swept Buss' Lakers out of the playoffs in the second round. The loss ended the Lakers pursuit of a third straight title, and the coaching career of legendary coach Phil Jackson, Buss' longtime boyfriend.
"After the Mavs swept the Lakers in the second round, Mark shook Phil's hand and told him 'Don't leave the game, we need you,'" she wrote. "Yes, they had their barbs back and forth but there is a mutual respect between Phil and Mark.
"After they won (the title), he asked the founding owner of the Mavericks, Donald Carter, to accept the trophy on behalf of the team. Very cool."
Ramona Shelburne is a columnist and reporter for ESPNLosAngeles.com.