The Los Angeles Lakers were not pleased that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said that the Lakers should amnesty Kobe Bryant at the end of the season.
"We're aware of Mark Cuban's comments and feel they are inappropriate," Lakers spokesman John Black said in a statement. "As to the issue itself, we will not comment publicly on the amnesty issue as it relates to any of our players."
The Lakers said they will not file a formal complaint to the NBA, but the league may fine Cuban for his comments.
When asked about Cuban's comments before the Lakers played the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, Bryant said with a slight laugh, "I'll bet he did."
Cuban made the comments on ESPN's radio affiliate in Dallas.
"If you look at their payroll, even if Dwight (Howard) comes back, you've got to ask the question: Should they amnesty Kobe?" Cuban said. "You just don't know, right? It's the same reason I wouldn't get rid of Dirk (Nowitzki). I'll take a hit for a season rather than get rid of Dirk. That's just it. I've made that commitment to him over the years and he's returned that commitment. Maybe that's selfish, but that's just the way it is.
"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."
Bryant is due a league-high $30.45 million salary next season. It is the final year of his contract.
If Howard re-signs with the Lakers next season, their payroll will likely remain in the $100 million range, according to ESPN. The salary cap is just over $70 million this season.
If the Lakers are $30 million over the salary cap next season, they would have to pay an $85 million luxury tax.
The Lakers can amnesty Bryant, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace or Steve Blake after the season to cut down their luxury tax penalty.
The Lakers visit the Mavericks on Sunday.