Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has emerged as a bidder for the Texas Rangers in a joint effort with former sports agent Dennis Gilbert and Dallas businessman Jeff Beck, the New York Post reported on Saturday.
The Post quoted one source close to the situation as saying: "I think Cuban is serious."
When reached Saturday night by ESPNDallas.com in Las Vegas, where he's with the Mavericks' summer-league team, Cuban declined comment.
Majority owner of the Mavericks since 2000, Cuban bid unsuccessfully to buy the Chicago Cubs in 2008. A play for the Rangers now would be similar, given that the Cubs were bankrupt at the time and with the Rangers currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings.
The Mavericks owner reportedly was the highest bidder for the Cubs, who were eventually bought by banking executive Tom Ricketts. Cuban consistently declined to publicly discuss his interest in the Cubs during that process, except to repeatedly stress that taking over a second major league franchise would not have an impact on his day-to-day operation of the Mavericks.
An uncertain ownership situation has prolonged the Rangers' sale process for months. Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg and Rangers president Nolan Ryan were awarded exclusive negotiating rights to purchase the club from Hicks Sports Group, but senior creditors believe they can get a higher price through a bankruptcy auction.
The Ryan-Greenberg group's attempt to purchase the Rangers hit another stumbling block Thursday when a hearing seeking court approval for a July 16 auction with strict guidelines was canceled. That came after the court-appointed chief restructuring officer filed a motion against the auction process he had agreed to earlier in the week.
The team's bankruptcy filing in May included a plan to repay creditors $75 million and sell the team to the Greenberg-Ryan group.
Cuban has said that he only pursued the opportunity to buy the Cubs because their iconic status made it "a unique situation." The Pittsburgh native was linked with the NHL's Penguins before he purchased operating control of the Mavericks and has been frequently urged by residents of his hometown to buy the Pirates, but Cuban insisted after his pursuit of the Cubs that he would only be interested in owning another baseball team if "the right deal" presented itself.
His definition of "the right deal," as provided to the Los Angeles Times last year: "I'm not a fan of debt-driven acquisitions. If a unique situation came up where I could contribute capital to buy out a majority shareholder and gain control, with existing shareholders or note holders staying in place, I would consider it."
Major League Baseball must approve the sale of any team and likely favors the Greenberg-Ryan group. However, Ryan acknowledged Thursday that the group might not end up owning the team.