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LAKERS FYI

Lakers call Mark Cuban's Kobe Bryant remarks 'inappropriate'

The Dallas Mavericks owner speculates on a radio show about whether the team should amnesty the Lakers guard after this season to save money on luxury taxes.

February 22, 2013|By Mike Bresnahan

The Lakers heard Mark Cuban's comments about Kobe Bryant. They weren't amused.

The Dallas Mavericks owner said in a radio interview Friday that the Lakers should consider using their one-time amnesty provision on Bryant this summer.

Bryant has one more season and $30.5 million left on his contract. He is one of four players the Lakers can waive via the money-saving device after this season.

"We're aware of Mark Cuban's comments and feel they are inappropriate," Lakers spokesman John Black said. "As to the issue itself, we will not comment publicly on the amnesty issue as it relates to any of our players."

The Lakers will not file a formal complaint with the NBA, though the league is looking into the matter and can fine Cuban for his comments.

Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak declined to comment.

Pau Gasol ($19.3 million next season), Metta World Peace ($7.7 million) and Steve Blake ($4 million) are the other three players the Lakers can waive this summer to avoid paying luxury taxes on their salaries. The Lakers still have to pay the salary of whichever player they amnesty.

"If you look at their payroll, even if Dwight [Howard] comes back, you've got to ask the question: Should they amnesty Kobe?" Cuban told 103.3 FM in Dallas. "You just don't know, right? It's the same reason I wouldn't get rid of Dirk [Nowitzki]. I'll take a hit for a season rather than get rid of Dirk. I've made that commitment to him over the years and he's returned that commitment.

"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 have a $100-million payroll this season and are paying an extra $30 million in luxury taxes.

A more punitive luxury-tax system kicks in next season, with the Lakers already committing $74.3 million to only six players — Bryant, Gasol, World Peace, Blake, Steve Nash and Jordan Hill. They would also pay Howard about $21 million next season if he re-signs with them as a free agent.

Gasol or World Peace would be the most likely candidate for the amnesty provision. It would be a public relations calamity if the Lakers amnestied Bryant, their all-time leading scorer. Blake does not make enough money, relatively speaking, to warrant consideration.

Players on the Lakers' roster at the end of the 2010-11 season are the only ones eligible to be amnestied. This off-season marks the final chance for the Lakers to use the provision.

Jerry Buss burial

Lakers owner Jerry Buss was buried Friday morning in a private ceremony at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills.

Buss, who died Monday at age 80 after battling cancer, was honored in a more public setting Thursday at the Nokia Theatre by numerous Lakers luminaries.

"The Buss family would like to extend their deepest gratitude to the public for their tremendous outpouring of love and support over the past several days," the team said in a statement Friday.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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