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.
After missing two entire seasons, all signs are pointing to 2014 No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid finally taking the court this season. Last week, Sixers coach Brett Brown said that Embiid has looked great in his workouts and is on track to play in the preseason, and Embiid himself echoed that sentiment over the weekend. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Marc Narducci that he feels “100 percent.”
There’s always a possibility and fear that Embiid’s recurring foot problems will come back, but for now, all indications are that he’s feeling good and will be able to contribute this season, which should make Sixers fans excited.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.