Mark Cuban says considering finances, the Lakers could amnesty Bryant.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has questioned whether the Los Angeles Lakers should amnesty Kobe Bryant.
Speaking to ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s “Ben and Skin Show”, he said: “If you look at the payroll, even if Dwight Howard comes back, you’ve got to ask the question: Should they amnesty Kobe?”
While initially the idea sounds crazy, Cuban’s point is based, and backed up, by the current financial situation at the Staples Center.
There is no question that from a basketball perspective, it would make little sense to part ways with Kobe considering he is still the go-to guy for the Lakers, and continues to consistently post up numbers.
However, looking closer at the financial aspects, and there is method in the madness regarding Cuban’s comments.
The Lakers are looking at hefty luxury tax bills if they don’t reduce their payroll, which is slightly more than $100 million this season, and will likely remain about the same should Howard re-sign.
With the penalties set to increase from next season, there will need to be some movement in the off-season to ensure that they avoid it.
Bryant is set to make a staggering $30.45 million next season, which will be the last year of his contract with the Lakers and has hinted he might then retire.
Despite keeping hold of top-earner Dirk Nowitzki, Cuban has past-experience of avoiding the luxury tax by letting key players around him leave instead, and says the Lakers face some similar issues.
“So I’m just saying 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,” Cuban added.