By Ben Golliver
Kobe Bryant put the exclamation point on a key Lakers win over the Mavericks on Sunday by firing off a Twitter message aimed at Dallas owner Mark Cuban.
After scoring a game-high 38 points (on 13-for-21 shooting) and adding 12 rebounds and seven assists in a 103-99 victory, Bryant offered a rebuttal to Cuban's suggestion on a radio show this week that the Lakers might consider using the amnesty clause on Kobe this summer. Bryant, the highest-paid player in the NBA, will make $30.5 million next season, contributing to L.A.'s massive luxury tax bill.
"Amnesty THAT," Bryant wrote shortly after the Lakers won their third straight game, moving two games ahead of the Mavericks as the two teams look to make a push for the Western Conference's No. 8 playoff seed.
Meanwhile, Cuban spent Sunday afternoon posting insulting and profane Twitter messages from Lakers fans who were upset by his comments about Bryant.
"Funny how people don't realize that the tweets don't say anything about me that I care about," he said. "Speak volumes about them."
As noted at The Point Forward earlier this week, Cuban raised the possibility of the Lakers using the amnesty clause on Bryant, which remove his salary from luxury tax payment calculations. Amnestied players are still paid in full.
“If you look at their payroll, even if Dwight [Howard] comes back, you’ve got to ask the question: Should [the Lakers] amnesty Kobe?…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.”
The Lakers responded by deeming the comments "inappropriate" and Cuban later clarified that he was merely using Bryant as an example to illustrate a point, according to ESPNDallas.com.
"Any time you try to explain the CBA, it's hard to do without giving an example," Cuban said while working out on his stair stepper before Sunday's game against the 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.Bryant joined Twitter in January after holding out for a number of years. He used the social media service to attempt to set the record straight after reports of a locker room feud between him and Lakers center Dwight Howard. Bryant's account has more than 1.4 million followers.
"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."