x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

NBA: When Mark Cuban speaks or tweets, people still seem to listen

Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban is up to his old ways and is drawing the attention of Kobe Bryant and NBA officials after recent comments on the league's collective bargaining agreement, writes Steve Dilbeck.

The NBA is considering a fine for Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban after his comments about Kobe Bryant and the league's collective bargaining agreement. Mike Stone / Reuters
The NBA is considering a fine for Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban after his comments about Kobe Bryant and the league's collective bargaining agreement. Mike Stone / Reuters

Ah, come on, NBA, have some fun. Don't be so deadly serious. Show a little love to Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner. He is not the enemy.

The league is weighing up whether to fine Cuban for suggesting that the Los Angeles Lakers could waive Kobe Bryant ahead of next season via the new "amnesty" provision. That would allow them to avoid paying a 150 per cent luxury tax on his league-high US$30.45 million (Dh111.8m) salary.

The NBA, however, seems to fine Cuban as a matter of course. The most recent blow to his wallet was a $50,000 fine in January for complaining about officiating. Cuban has been hit with almost $2m in fines since buying the Mavericks in 2000.

As the schedule would have it, the Lakers played Dallas on Sunday. Surprise, a motivated Bryant scored 38 points to lead the Lakers to a 103-99 victory. Afterward, Bryant tweeted: "Amnesty THAT".

Cuban, naturally, tweeted a response: "Nice to know there is at least one team and their players, outside of the Mavs, that listen to everything I say".

This is fun, right? In the past, Cuban delighted in sparring with Phil Jackson, when he coached the Lakers. He made fun of Shaquille O'Neal's weight. He would poke and prod, and so what?

Cuban said he cited Bryant and his enormous 2013/14 salary as a hypothetical during a radio discussion of the NBA's complicated collective-bargaining agreement. Sounds reasonable. Now it is the NBA's turn to be reasonable.

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