Kobe to Mark Cuban: 'Amnesty THAT'

DALLAS -- Be careful what you wish for, Mark Cuban.

You say you miss the days of witty repartee with Phil Jackson and Shaquille O’Neal? Want another high-profile Laker with whom to go back-and-forth?

OK, Kobe Bryant is game. But the Black Mamba doesn’t play nice. And he’s hell to deal with when he’s mad, a mode he promises to be in throughout the rest of the season and what he predicts will be a long Lakers playoff run, picking up motivational ammunition from Cuban’s mouth this week.

“Amnesty THAT,” Kobe tweeted Sunday afternoon.

Doesn’t sound like Kobe wanted to hear about hypotheticals, huh?

What more needed to be said after the living legend put up 38 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 103-99 win over the Dallas Mavericks in a game that was critical to both proud franchises’ playoff hopes?

Those actions spoke loudly, especially while Bryant scored 14 points with a high-degree-of-difficulty, including 5-of-5 shooting in the fourth quarter to allow the Lakers to pull out the win.

“They should have listened to Cuban and amnestied him this morning,” Dirk Nowitzki kidded after his 30-point, 13-rebound performance was overshadowed by a Kobe classic.

Oh, Kobe did throw one verbal jab at Cuban after his dominant performance in Dallas.

“We've always kind of marched to the beat of our own drum, but I'm sure if [Cuban] wants to amnesty Dirk, that's something we'll entertain,” Kobe said, essentially offering his fellow future Hall of Famer a spot on the Lakers’ roster next season.

Of course, the thought of Cuban using the amnesty clause to cut ties with Dirk is preposterous (and impossible after the Mavs used the one-time clause to dump Brendan Haywood last offseason). Just like it’s laughable to even imagine the Lakers avoiding a massive luxury-tax bill by slashing Kobe’s $30.5 million salary this summer.

But there was Cuban making that hypothetical suggestion during a Friday appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. He claimed Sunday that he simply used the league’s highest payroll and highest-paid player as an example in a discussion about the collective bargaining agreement, but that comment came in response to a question about whether Cuban was surprised by the state of the Lakers.

Gee whiz, it’s such a stretch to think Cuban just wanted to get under the skin of the NBA’s glamour franchise, right?

The Mavs’ brash billionaire owner readily admits that verbal sparring ranks among his favorite pastimes. And high-profile Lakers have been among his favorite sparring partners over the years.

This falls right in line with the “Shaq Albert” video and referring to Jackson as Jeanie Buss’ “boy toy.”

Well, it’s on a much higher intellectual level than those digs -- just try calculating the luxury tax that kicks in next season -- but it’s another classic Cuban shot at the Lakers.

And this one backfired.

“Nice to know there is a least one team and their players, outside of the Mavs, that listen to everything I say,” Cuban wrote in one tweet Sunday evening.

He then added another: “But I do have to give props to @kobebryant for a great tweet. #Welldone.”