By DWAIN PRICE, FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM
DALLAS — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban received a lot of criticism from fans in Los Angeles last week when he said on a national radio show that the Lakers could reduce their luxury tax commitments by assigning the amnesty clause to guard Kobe Bryant this summer.
The amnesty clause allows NBA teams to waive one player a year without counting salary owed them against the salary cap or luxury tax.
Cuban, however, said everyone took his comments out of context and that he was using Bryant and the Lakers as an example while trying to explain the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement.
“[NBA commissioner] David Stern and everybody that works for the NBA, every time they describe the CBA and what’s going on they use the Mavericks and Tyson Chandler, or [Oklahoma City] and James Harden [as examples],” Cuban said before Sunday’s 103-99 loss to the Lakers. “You can’t describe it any other way.
“And I was very clear this was a hypothetical. I wasn’t recommending or suggesting anything, despite what some of the media said.”
Cuban said he doesn’t expect to be fined by the NBA for making the comments about the Lakers. He said he made his example because Bryant is the NBA’s highest-paid player at $27.849 million this season, and the Lakers’ $100.087 millon payroll in the league’s highest.
After he collected 38 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists Sunday to pace the Lakers to a 103-99 victory over the Mavs, Bryant sent out a tweet that read: “Amnesty THAT.”
Mistake on Nash
The reason the Mavs didn’t re-sign point guard Steve Nash when he became a free agent on July 1, 2004, was because Mark Cuban said all the medical information he received was that Nash was basically done.
“Obviously it was wrong, but that was the information I had,” Cuban said Sunday. “We didn’t even know what gluten-free diets were back then.
“That’s what everybody told us, and that was one of the reasons we really picked things up in terms of what we did in medical information so we don’t make mistakes like that again.”
Nash went on to win back-to-back NBA Most Valuable Player awards in the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 seasons while playing for the Phoenix Suns, and is still a factor today for the Los Angeles Lakers at age 39.
“I don’t ever look back and regret, because it’s all turned out OK,” he said. “We wouldn’t have had Jet [Jason Terry].
“A bunch of other deals never would have gotten done. We would have had a different decision process for sure.”
Center Chris Kaman played eight minutes Sunday against the Lakers in his first game since missing the previous 10 contests after a concussion.
Kaman finished with four points and four rebounds, and was 1-of-2 from the field.
“Kaman did well,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I was very pleased .”
If Dwight Howard was auditioning to become the newest member of the Mavs when he becomes a free agent on July 1, he turned in mixed reviews Sunday.
Plagued by foul difficulties all day, Howard had 9 points, 13 rebounds, 5 fouls, 4 turnovers and 1 blocked shot in 33 minutes. He was 2 of 7 from the field and 5 of 10 on free throws.
–New Mavs swingman Anthony Morrow played only in the game’s final 3.9 seconds.
–Kobe Bryant had 14 of his game-high 38 points in the fourth quarter.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice ——
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