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Today's Sports Genius: David Katzman

Tuesday, 26 May 2009 | 11:13 AM ET
Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers

Last week, the Cleveland Cavaliers forged a deal with a group of Chinese investors that would give them the right, pending NBA approval, to buy at least 15 percent of the team.

While the benefits of having part owners from China has been talked about plenty, little has been talked about the man who got out of his Cavs investment in the perfect time.

His name is David Katzman and he bought at least 15 percent of the team as part of a group organized by his business partner Dan Gilbert in 2005. Katzman, who is also managing partner of private investment group Camelot Ventures, has been trying to sell the team for some time now. But it seems like his timing to execute the deal, even if it's more accident than planning, couldn't have been better.

Why? Because when the sale was agreed to, LeBron was knocking down his buzzer-beating three-pointer.

If Cavaliers lose to Magic, don't make it back to the Finals and LeBron bolts, the relative value of the team will only fall. We spoke to one insider who said that if LeBron leaves the Cavaliers after next year, the value of the team will automatically plummet by at least $100 million.

Now let's address this garbage about the Chinese involvement leading to the Cavaliers greater popularity in China. Total bunk. More Chinese people will like the Cavaliers if there is a Chinese player playing for them than if one of their brethren owns a minority piece of the team.

Do the Japanese want to watch the Seattle Mariners because it's owned by Nintendo ? No. They want to watch because of Ichiro. Who is now a fan of Manchester United because Malcolm Glazer bought it? I'd say not a single soul.

The idea that LeBron should now stay in Cleveland because he'll be bigger in China with Chinese minority partners is a big stretch. Trust me, he'll be bigger in China if he wins a championship with any team.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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