DALLAS – With the little regard he holds for Laker fans, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban hardly seemed surprised of the reaction over suggesting the Lakers considering using the amnesty provision on Kobe Bryant.
“That wasn’t what I was looking to accomplish,” Cuban said. “But it’s always fun to hear Lakers fans respond to anything.”
Instead, Cuban said he merely wanted to explain the ramifications surrounding the new collective bargaining agreement that imposes harsher luxury taxes this offseason for teams spending over the luxury cap.
“Fans, it’s not their job to understand how the CBA works,” Cuban said. “You have to use examples. I was clear in saying that it was a hypothetical. But it was a good example because they have a high payroll with the highest paid player in the league.“
The Lakers have a $100 million payroll and are spending an additional $30 million in luxury taxes this season. Meanwhile, Bryant will earn $30.5 million for the final year of his contract. The Lakers would never waive Bryant using the one-time provision because of his strong value both on the court and to the team’s brand.
“If you look at their payroll … you’ve got to ask that question, ‘Should they amnesty Kobe?’” Cuban said Friday 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.”
Lakers spokesman John Black considered Cuban’s comments “inappropriate.”
“You can tell when people actually listen to it or read it as opposed to people who look at the tweets,” Cuban said. “Big difference. “
Instead, Cuban sounded more frustrated about other things. He said the NBA hasn’t updated the new labor agreement on its website since 2005. Cuban said he just found out this week teams could only perform sign-and-trades with players under contract, not free agents, and couldn’t use the mini mid-level exception to do so. Cuban also sounded like he missed trading barbs with a certain Lakers coach and center.
“It’s nowhere near as fun as it was with Phil [Jackson] and Shaq,” Cuban said. “They would always take the bait.”
Cuban repeatedly said “don’t know, don’t care” to various Lakers-related questions regarding their struggles and whether Jackson will ever coach again. But Cuban sounded passionate about one particular Laker topic. He expressed admiration for Lakers owner Jerry Buss, who died last week from an unspecified form of cancer that affected his kidneys.
“I loved Dr. Buss. He was amazing,” Cuban said. “When I first got into the league, he sat me down and basically told me to ignore everybody and just be myself. He gave me all kind of good stories with when I came in and his feedback and response when he signed Magic [Johnson] to a $25 million deal. He gave me all the confidence.”
After purchasing the team in 1979, Buss oversaw the Lakers winning 10 of their 16 NBA titles. Forbes recently valued the franchise at $1 billion.
“You can’t even begin to describe how important he was.” Cuban said. “He was a counterbalance to the old school and still part of the old school. He always had amazing things to say in meetings and always spoke his mind.”
Cuban has done that too, much to the chagrin of Laker fans.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org