Mavericks owner Mark Cuban likes to receive attention, and he likes to take shots at the Lakers. He got to do both on Friday, when he suggested during a radio interview that the Lakers amnesty one of the greatest players to ever play for the franchise in Kobe Bryant.
For the uninitiated, the amnesty provision was negotiated into the new collective bargaining agreement to allow teams to wipe one player’s salary from the books, either before this current season or the next.
With the Lakers’ payroll and luxury tax bill reaching astronomic proportions, Cuban sarcastically threw it out there that the easiest way for L.A. to shed payroll would be by cutting Bryant loose.
Hilarious idea — unless you’re the Lakers, who weren’t exactly laughing about Cuban’s comments. In fact, the team responded by issuing an official statement.
From Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:
“We’re aware of Mark Cuban’s comments. We feel they’re inappropriate,” Lakers spokesman John Black said. “As far as the issue itself, we’re not going to comment publicly on the amnesty issue as it relates to any of our players.”
Cuban wins here, for the simple fact that he was obviously trying to get under the skin of the franchise, and the official response means that he did exactly that.
As for any action from the league in the form of a fine issued to Cuban for his remarks, there’s about as much chance of that happening as there is of the Lakers cutting ties with Bryant by amnestying him next summer.
So much attention is paid to Lonzo Ball‘s father, jumper and passes. Those are the major storylines for the Lakers rookie.
But he has such a diverse skill set, and this is absolutely part of it. Ball is a savvy off-ball cutter in the halfcourt with the athleticism to get above the rim and finish alley-oops.
But finish them over 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, who was tracking the play (though slightly late)? That’s an eye-opener, even in the Kings’ 113-102 win.
When Marc Gasol‘s 3/4-court attempt went through the net, it seemed to barely matter the ball left his hands just after the first-quarter buzzer. After all, the Grizzlies led the Mavericks by 15, anyway.
Turns out, Memphis really needed that basket.
Toronto has been the second best team in the East this young season. Not that anyone is really convinced they will be called that by the time we get to the playoffs (or even the All-Star break, or even Christmas), but for the first 16-18 games of the season their new move-the-ball offense had them at 11-5 and looking solid.
Wednesday night the Knicks dismantled the Raptors.
Especially in the third quarter when the Knicks went on a 28-0 run to blow the doors off the Raptors (video above). The Knicks dominated the third 41-10, when Toronto shot just 1-of-16 from the floor.
New York is gaining confidence with each win this season, they are a fun team to watch that is starting to find an identity (now that a certain three-sided shaped one is not being forced upon them). Kristaps Porzingis is a monster, and while the Knicks overpaid the market for Tim Hardaway Jr. he has lived up to his contract this season. With rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina showing some nice defense and playmaking skills as a rookie (although he is undoubtedly still a work in progress), you can see a path to a strong future unfolding. There are real reasons for hope in New York. Someone just keep James Dolan distracted and away from the basketball operations side of the building.
I’m not sure who benefited from Devin Booker‘s buzzer-beating, overtime-forcing 3-pointer. The Suns still lost to the Bucks, 113-107. The extra five minutes featured more of the same relatively bad basketball we’d seen between Phoenix (bad) and Milwaukee (shorthanded) through 48 minutes.
But darn if this shot wasn’t really cool and clutch.