Mark Cuban Tosses Out the Idea of L.A. Using the Amnesty Clause on Kobe; Kobe Responds By Beating Dallas and Tweeting

February 25, 2013 – 6:15 am by Eric Schmoldt

Here’s the interview that had plenty of NBA folks talking over the weekend, where Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban discusses, generally, some upcoming tough decisions teams could have to make under the collective bargaining agreement. Using Kobe Bryant as what he has now called just a hypothetical, Cuban throws out an idea of the L.A. Lakers using the amnesty clause to dump Bryant.

Kobe responded Sunday by scoring 38 points in the Lakers 103-99 victory over Cuban’s Mavs, and then tweeted: “Amnesty THAT.”

Mark Cuban joined ESPN Radio Dallas with The Ben and Skin Show to discuss a busy NBA trade deadline, if he feels like he evaluated his team correctly following the new CBA, his philosophy on contending for a title, the situation the Lakers are in, a hypothetical scenario where the Lakers used the amnesty clause on Kobe Bryant, not settling for being a seller at the deadline and the value of draft picks these days.

On what things were like on the day of the trade deadline:

“It was crazy. We thought we had a bunch of things done, literally a bunch of things done. We had some teams get cold feet at the last minute and thought, ‘We’ll go to our backup.’ No. We even had one team come in and say, ‘We want to do yada-yada-yada, and we’ll give you $3.1 million dollars.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s a shock.’ … Then last minute, no.”

As we get further into the new CBA, do you still feel like you evaluated things correctly?:

“I think I evaluated it exactly right, for better or worse. But that doesn’t mean I know what’s going to happen next. We knew there were going to be a lot of changes. My goodness, they traded James Harden. Guys are seeing moves that were just inconceivable in past years. It doesn’t mean like, all of the sudden oh we got it right, so things are going to fall into our lap.”

Would you say you’ve always been a guy who has either wanted to contend for either a title or a No. 1 overall draft pick?:

“Not so much the No. 1 pick. I go back and forth, where if I was just brutally objective, then you should just totally suck, right? But I’m not brutally objective. I want to win; I’m just so competitive. So I’m trying to have my cake and eat it to, where we’re trying to retain as much flexibility … and we also what to retain a culture of winning.”

Are you surprised by the state the Lakers are in?:

“Of course, even I am. I didn’t expect this at all. They’re playing better. … We’re just trying to get that last spot or two. … Chemistry is so important and it goes to the heart of building a team. You’ve got to build a team. And it also goes to the heart of the CBA. If you look at their payroll, even if Dwight comes back, you’ve got to ask the question, should they have amnestied Kobe? … I don’t think they’d do it, but they’ve got some choices to make.”

At this trade deadline, could you have either been a buyer or a seller this time around?:

“We weren’t willing to be a seller. We could’ve been, but I wasn’t willing to be a seller, because I wasn’t ready to give up and there wasn’t anything we were going to get back. Draft picks are so valuable these days, that unless you trade a superstar, you’re not getting picks back. … Josh Smith was on the block. They couldn’t get picks. … In this CBA, having [players] locked in for that limited amount of money is very valuable.”

On the difference in acquiring superstars in the NBA compared to MLB:

“Baseball’s a lot different just because you never know where the stars are coming from. When the Rangers made their run to the World Series the first time, it wasn’t expected. And you didn’t look at any of those players and say, ‘These guys are dialed in as superstars.’ … Or Mike Napoli. Who thought some chubby guy was going to be hitting triples? So you just never know in baseball, where in basketball the stars are a lot more identifiable, both on the court and off.”

On the future of Dirk Nowitzki:

“I think Dirk will be a lot better next year than he is this year, because he’s so competitive and so prideful that he hasn’t got to the point where he’s completely comfortable making his game more physical. … We all have memories of him in Miami driving to the bucket — driving to the bucket and finishing. Now, he’s avoiding contact, because I don’t think he fully trusts his body yet.”

Listen to Mark Cuban on ESPN Dallas here

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