Mark Cuban knows the Lakers play his Mavericks on Sunday…right?
Yesterday, always one to stir the pot, Cuban made some comments to a Dallas radio station, stating that the Los Angeles Lakers may have to consider cutting – or “amnestying” – Kobe from the squad this summer in order to save money, according to ESPN:
“If you look at their payroll, even if Dwight (Howard) comes back, you’ve got to ask the question: Should they amnesty Kobe?” Cuban said. “You just don’t know, right? It’s the same reason I wouldn’t get rid of Dirk (Nowitzki). I’ll take a hit for a season rather than get rid of Dirk. That’s just it. I’ve made that commitment to him over the years, and he’s returned that commitment. Maybe that’s selfish, but that’s just the way it is.
The amnesty clause is available to every team in the league to use once after the new Collective Bargaining Agreement was signed in 2011: it can only be used on players who were already on a team before the new CBA was signed, and teams still have to pay players the money they owe them. The reason teams do it is to save them from having to pay luxury tax.
The Lakers didn’t seem very pleased with Cuban’s comments, calling them “inappropriate” before last night’s game versus the Portland Trail Blazers:
“We’re aware of Mark Cuban’s comments and feel they are inappropriate,” Lakers spokesman John Black said in a statement. “As to the issue itself, we will not comment publicly on the amnesty issue as it relates to any of our players.”
While the Lakers chose not to look into fining Cuban for his comments, the NBA is looking into doing so, ESPN reports.
Kobe just “chuckled” and said “I’ll bet he did,” in response to Cuban’s statement. I’m not sure what Cuban is trying to achieve by saying this, as it will likely motivate Bryant even more so – if that’s even possible.
Maybe Cuban is hoping that Kobe will get away from his recent style of play, where he’s shooting the ball less and looking to get teammates involved on offense. Maybe he hopes Bryant will go off and take 40 shots to try and prove a point.
Don’t count on it, Mark: Count On Kobe getting another W…and Dallas’ outspoken owner wearing a t-shirt two sizes too small for him.