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Lakers respond to Mark Cuban’s suggestion that they should amnesty Kobe Bryant

Feb 23, 2013, 9:30 AM EDT

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban watches the Los Angeles Lakers play the Dallas Mavericks during their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles Reuters

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban likes to receive attention, and he likes to take shots at the Lakers. He got to do both on Friday, when he suggested during a radio interview that the Lakers amnesty one of the greatest players to ever play for the franchise in Kobe Bryant.

For the uninitiated, the amnesty provision was negotiated into the new collective bargaining agreement to allow teams to wipe one player’s salary from the books, either before this current season or the next.

With the Lakers’ payroll and luxury tax bill reaching astronomic proportions, Cuban sarcastically threw it out there that the easiest way for L.A. to shed payroll would be by cutting Bryant loose.

Hilarious idea — unless you’re the Lakers, who weren’t exactly laughing about Cuban’s comments. In fact, the team responded by issuing an official statement.

From Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

“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.”

Cuban wins here, for the simple fact that he was obviously trying to get under the skin of the franchise, and the official response means that he did exactly that.

As for any action from the league in the form of a fine issued to Cuban for his remarks, there’s about as much chance of that happening as there is of the Lakers cutting ties with Bryant by amnestying him next summer.

  1. manchestermiracle - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    The best response would have been no response at all. Attention whores hate being ignored.

    • 00maltliquor - Feb 23, 2013 at 4:56 PM

      I know, right.

      Or at least a, “HELL to the NO. We would NEVER amnesty Kobe. Ever.”

      Instead they pulled a “We’re aware of Mark Cuban’s comments. We feel they’re inappropriate,” “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.”………kinda makes me wonder now….

  2. money2long - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    cuban wins? smh, silly media always looking for battles

  3. jessethegreat - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Do mavs fans even like this guy still? He’s just plain annoying. No one will take the NBA’s attempt to clean up their image seriously until this guy is forced to sell.

    • manchestermiracle - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:13 AM

      Nothing wrong with Cuban, he’s a pretty damn good owner. Although I can’t stand his smirking, holier-than-thou attitude, especially towards anything Laker, he is an asset in the NBA.

    • dannymac17 - Feb 24, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      as much as i dont like Cuban

      the NBA needs more owners like him.

  4. redbearwoodall - Feb 23, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    Oh, come on. He was being sarcastic. He even acknowledged that the Lakers wouldn’t do that and he wouldn’t either under the same circumstances. Cuban was not being serious at all, he was trying to be an obnoxiously sarcastic jokester. You can never take this guy too seriously. I would expect the Lakers, of all teams, to realize that.

  5. spideysdog - Feb 23, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    with all the room the mavs have under the cap I’m sure he would love that. Kobe and Dirk would be a nice combo.

  6. dt58 - Feb 23, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    Hahaha…love Mark Cuban. NBA needs this guy around, makes everything so entertaining. Find it hard to believe that the sanctimonious Lakers can’t laugh at a joke even when the joke isn’t their craptastic season they’re having

  7. thestudiokida - Feb 23, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    The Lakers won’t win a championship this year or next. They also can’t afford to keep this team. I think they should amnesty Kobe. Re-sign Dwight and start the rebuilding process around him. Maybe trade Pau for a couple wings or draft picks. It’s not as crazy as it sounds.

    • cosanostra71 - Feb 23, 2013 at 1:41 PM

      “They also can’t afford to keep this team”

      What are you basing that on? They signed a 20 year, $3 billion deal with Time Warner Cable. Money is not an issue here.

      • thestudiokida - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        I admit my comment is a tad silly… but things change fast in the NBA and often teams are really screwed by contracts that seemed good at the time. Two years from now Kobe may be retired or playing so poorly that some Lakers fans may fantasize about what might have been. In reality, I would never dump Kobe because I know he’s more committed to winning than anybody in the NBA.

      • cosanostra71 - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:41 PM

        well in two years his contract will be up.

    • eugenesaxe - Feb 23, 2013 at 6:38 PM

      Kobe personally brings in enough to cover his salary and more. They are also possibly the most well-off team media-wise in the league.

      • Kurt Helin - Feb 23, 2013 at 7:17 PM

        I was once told by a source that would know his salary was a third of what he was worth to the franchise.

  8. noahbird - Feb 23, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    I am a Kobe fan and Lakers fan. The idea of changing direction next offseason, cutting Kobe to relieve the potential 80 million(?) luxury tax and possibly re signing Howard, is not that crazy.

    • fanofevilempire - Feb 23, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      Huge Laker/ Kobe fan myself but D12 hasn’t showed that he has matured enough to hand over
      the team to him, that is why you can’t get rid of Kobe, he is a winner.

      I believe in Mitch, he will get some players.

      • loungefly74 - Feb 24, 2013 at 12:22 AM

        absolutely. LaLaLand is…and will always be a prime destination for NBA players.

  9. lonedog54 - Feb 23, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    With Lakers organization still dealing with the death of their owner, Cuban come off as classless in my book. He should be putting all of his efforts into trying to make the Mavs worth looking at again instead of worrying about the Lakers.

  10. nicosanchez02 - Feb 23, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    We’ll amnesty Kobe, when you amnesty your German!

  11. kindasporty - Feb 23, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    I think a subtle reminder about the leagues tampering rules would have made for a better statement. I don’t quite know if they would actually apply, but if the Lakers claimed that Cuban’s saying that because he wants to sign Kobe, then maybe they’d get under his skin.

    • mazblast - Feb 23, 2013 at 3:45 PM

      It’s tampering only if a team contacts a player or his agent. Needling his organization is not tampering.

      It’s interesting how the Lakers and their fans are all fun-and-games when they’re at or near the top, feeling free to razz everyone else, but turn into “harrumph, harrumph, this is not proper” when the tables are turned.

      The Lakers could have turned this into a win if they had issued a three word statement–“Consider the source”. Anything else is a schoolyard win for Cuban.

  12. kb2408 - Feb 23, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    Why doesn’t he amnesty Dirk, at this stage of their careers Kobe is much better. Cuban’s a clown. He’s mad because Dwight won’t be playing for his team. Be happy with your one lonely title, Dallas.

  13. eugenesaxe - Feb 23, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Do people no longer recognize a joke when they see it?

  14. ron05342 - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:59 AM

    I agree, the Lakers handled it poorly.

    They should have taken a cue from the Twitter feed of a co-tenant, the Los Angeles Kings. They probably would have responded, in typical Kings’ fashion: “We understand Mark Cuban is an azzhole that has to act the fool every once in a while. So congratulations Mark!”

    Just escalate it. Don’t try to diffuse it, as the Lakers attempted to do and failed. Make fun of Cuban back. That’s the only way to deal with a 54-year-old teenager.

  15. ninthwardfriend - Feb 24, 2013 at 7:14 AM

    Cuban need’s to move back to Cuba.

  16. joeyb3878 - Feb 26, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    Just gonna make Kobe mad, which is never a good idea.

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