Kobe fires back at Mavs owner on Twitter

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. (AP)
February 24, 2013, 3:18 PM

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

DALLAS — Mavericks owner Mark Cuban doesn’t expect to hear from the league over his suggestion the Los Angeles Lakers could reduce their salary cap tax by dumping Kobe Bryant through the amnesty clause.

Cuban said before Dallas’ game against the Lakers on Sunday that he made it clear during a radio interview Friday he was speaking hypothetically, and he was just trying to use an example to explain new restrictions in the labour agreement.

The Lakers called the remark inappropriate but didn’t plan to pursue a complaint.

"Amnesty THAT," Bryant tweeted after scoring 38 points in a 103-99 victory over the Mavericks.

"I’m sure if he wants to amnesty Dirk, that’s something we’ll be willing to entertain," Bryant told reporters.

Cuban has cited the labour deal as a main reason for not bringing back key pieces of Dallas’ 2011 championship team, most notably New York Knicks centre Tyson Chandler. He said the labour contract is difficult to explain and "it’s not like we’re getting any help from the league."

During a radio interview a day after the trading deadline last week, Cuban told a Dallas-area station that the Lakers and other teams over the salary cap were going to face some difficult roster decisions.

The Mavericks, meanwhile, will be looking for help for Dirk Nowitzki and are a primed for a run at a free-agent class that is likely to include Lakers centre Dwight Howard. He had Dallas on a short list of destinations when his future in Orlando got murky last year.

The amnesty clause allows teams to avoid a contract counting against the salary cap, although the player is still owed the money.

"If you look at their payroll, even if Dwight comes back, you’ve got to ask the question: Should they amnesty Kobe?" Cuban said in the radio interview. "You just don’t know, right? It’s the same reason I wouldn’t get rid of Dirk, I’ll take a hit for a season rather than get rid of Dirk.

"So 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. The Knicks, the same thing. Boston, same thing."

Cuban said Sunday he wasn’t alone in citing specific players.

"Whenever the commissioner or any other team talks about the CBA, they talk about Dallas and Tyson Chandler, or Dallas and Dirk and what’s going to happen," Cuban said. "You’ve got to use examples. I was clear in saying it was hypothetical and I expected him to be in LA, but he was a good example because they have the highest payroll in the league."

The outspoken Dallas owner said he learned something new about the labour deal during trade discussions last week, and he’s already studied it more than most.
"Every time you go anywhere and you try to interface with fans and explain things, it’s not as easy task," Cuban said. "And it’s not like we’re getting any help from the league."

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