Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told ESPN Dallas on Sunday that he was just being hypothetical when he made recent comments suggesting that the Los Angeles Lakers should amnesty Kobe Bryant next season.
"Any time you try to explain the CBA, it's hard to do without giving an example," Cuban said before the Mavericks' game against the visiting Lakers. "Whenever the commissioner or anybody talks about the CBA, they talk about Dallas and Tyson Chandler or Dallas and Dirk or whatever. You've got to use examples.
"I was clear saying it was hypothetical and I didn't expect it to be that way, but it was a good example because they have the highest payroll and the highest-paid player in the league. That's the end of the story."
After Bryant scored 38 points in the Lakers' 103-99 victory over the Mavericks in Dallas on Sunday, Bryant tweeted, "Amnesty THAT."
The Lakers released a statement Friday saying they were not happy about Cuban's comments, which he made earlier that day in a radio interview. The Lakers said they will not file a formal complaint to the NBA.
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 Friday. "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. The Lakers' payroll next season could be about $100 million and the current salary cap is just over $70 million. If the Lakers are $30 million over the salary cap next season, they would have to pay an $85 million luxury tax.