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Chinese Investors Eye Stake In Cavs, Signifying Something Or Other About LeBron

Illustration for article titled Chinese Investors Eye Stake In Cavs, Signifying Something Or Other About LeBron

Over the weekend came news that a group of Chinese investors were looking to buy a 15 percent stake in the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is a big deal, not least because it would mean the Chinese now own most of our debt and a share of our favorite basketball player.

The Cavs' new investor is reportedly a Hong Kong-based conglomerate called New World Development Co., though the company flatly denies it. What's hilarious is that we have reached a level of affection for LeBron such that every news event about the Cavaliers — even a shrewd bit of business like this — must be viewed first and foremost through the prism of James' pending free agency. From The New York Times:

The move will be interpreted as an effort by the Cavaliers to entice James, who will become a free agent after next season, to stay in Cleveland and capitalize on the franchise's connections in China. James has said that he wants to become the first athlete worth a billion dollars.

"This is just another example of Dan Gilbert trying to appeal to LeBron and building the case for why he should re-sign," said Mark S. Rosentraub, a sports business analyst and a professor at Cleveland State University, referring to the Cavaliers' majority owner.

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LeBron, for his part, could barely contain his excitement: "It could be good. It should be fun."

Above all, the deal turns the Cavs ownership group into the front end of a bad joke. Usher, a bunch of Chinese businessmen and a blind guy walk into a boardroom ...

Sources: Chinese investors close to purchasing share of Cleveland Cavaliers [Plain Dealer]

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