Never one to shy to throw barbs at the Lakers, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban suggested something that irked team officials.
Cuban suggested Friday that the Lakers use their amnesty provision to waive Kobe Bryant.
“We’re aware of Mark Cuban’s comments. We feel they’re inappropriate,” Lakers spokesman John Black said. “As far as the issue itself, we’re not going to comment publicly on the amnesty issue as it relates to any of our players.”
The Lakers won’t formal complaint to the NBA, but it’s possible the league could fine Cuban the comments he made with a Dallas radio station.
“If you look at their payroll … you’ve got to ask that question, ‘Should they amnesty Kobe?’” Cuban said on ESPN’s “Ben and Skin Show” in Dallas. “I’m just saying that hypothetically. When I say amnesty Kobe, I don’t think they’d do it, but they’ve got some choices to make. Now, they’re in a big market, but they’re still limited.”
According to the rules of the current collective bargaining agreement, tax rates climb exponentially next season. Bryant’s $30.5 million deal for one more season could severely hamper the team’s long-term financial flexibility. The Lakers’ other amnesty candidates in Pau Gasol ($19 million), Metta World Peace ($7 million) and Steve Blake ($4 million) earn significantly less.
The Lakers absolutely won’t ever use the one-time provision on Bryant. First, there’s the immediate public relations nightmare over parting ways with Bryant after winning five NBA championships and climbing up to fifth place in the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Secondly, Bryant ranks fourth in the league in scoring (26.4 points per game) in his 17th NBA season. Bryant’s made strong suggestions he will retire when his contract expires after the 2013-14 campaign.
Former Lakers coach Phil Jackson often engaged in verbal spars through the media with Cuban. But not Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni.
“I’m not going to get in a war with that,” D’Antoni said. “Guys can say what they want to say.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at email@example.com