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Mark Cuban not unhappy with Lakers drama...though he misses Phil Jackson

6a00d8341c506253ef0147e1bfb63c970b-320wi-1Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban heard about the most recent episode of Lakers drama. He's not sympathetic.

"I could care less," Cuban said an hour before the Lakers and Mavericks played Wednesday in Dallas.

The latest: Magic Johnson said Kobe Bryant and Lakers executive Jim Buss needed to meet so Bryant would be more aware of the Lakers' future plans.

"Then if Magic says that, I hope they don't [meet]," Cuban said. "The more drama in other teams' locker rooms, the happier I am. I hope there's incredible drama in 29 locker rooms."

Cuban admitted missing a certain type of drama.

"I miss Phil [Jackson]," Cuban said. "Phil was smart. He was fun to mess with, knowing that he'd come right back, return volley, and I'd return volleys like a good tennis match. The volleys went on and on. They got more intense. I really miss that. I hope he gets back in the NBA. You don't often find the perfect bucket boy."

Cuban and Jackson fenced with each other for more than a decade over a litany of issues.

They started dueling in 2000 when Cuban scolded the Lakers for spending more like the Clippers during a slow off-season. He also said they pocketed profits at the expense of the team.

Jackson replied that Cuban should "keep his mouth shut."

They went back and forth a few years later after Jackson said Cuban was trying to "sally up points" by intimidating referees.

Cuban responded with a blog entry titled "I Own Phil Jackson" and wondered why Jackson mentioned him so often. "How can the NBA coach with so many championship rings find me so intimidating?" Cuban wrote.

Jackson responded that Cuban was "so easy to tweak" and promised to "copyright myself" so Cuban could indeed own him.

Maybe they really do miss each other.

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Phil Jackson, Jeanie Buss express amusement over Mark Cuban's comment about Jackson being "Jeanie's boy toy"

Mark Cuban supports NBA blocking Chris Paul trade

--Mike Bresnahan

Photo: Dallas owner Mark Cuban has been known over the years for making bold claims to the media. Credit: Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Mark Cuban supports NBA blocking Chris Paul trade

Mark Cuban

Never one to shy away from controversial matters, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stuck his nose in a subject that will surely irk Laker fans.

This time, it involves something more serious than just describing Phil Jackson as Jeanie Buss' "boy toy." In an interview with ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM, Cuban defended NBA Commissioner David Stern for blocking a three-team trade that would've sent New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul to the Lakers. 

"The message is we went through this lockout for a reason," Cuban said. "Again, I'm not speaking for Stern. He's not telling me his thought process. I'm just telling you my perspective, having gone through all this. There's a reason that we went through this lockout, and one of the reasons is to give small-market teams the ability to keep their stars and the ability to compete."

Considering the Mavericks' hefty payroll, Cuban's commentary predictably reeks of of hypocrisy. In fairness, Cuban protested when the NBA-owned Hornets traded guard Marcus Thornton and cash last season to the Sacramento Kings for forward Carl Landry. But if Cuban had tried to acquire Paul, and  Stern had blocked it,  the Mavericks owner would've cried conspiracy theories despite any hefty fines thrown his way. 

If the NBA were truly serious about ensuring competitive balance, it would've ensured instituting various measures, such as a hard cap or unlimited maximum salaries. That would've given more players incentive to stay with teams for the long run, even if it's a small-market team.  

"I wouldn't have been happy, but I would have understood because it was a conversation a lot of owners had long before the Laker deal was consummated," Cuban said. "It was like, 'Look, sure, I'd love him. Give [Paul] to me in a heartbeat.' But the whole idea of the lockout was to prevent stuff like that.

"Players will always have the right to choose what they want to do as a free agent, but the players agreed to rules that said, 'You know what? Let's give the home team, the incumbent team, an extra advantage.' And that's how the rules were designed. I think they're going to work."

Obviously in Paul's case, the rules aren't working.

RELATED:

Highlighting Mark Cuban's memorable exchanges involving the Lakers

Phil Jackson, Jeanie Buss express amusement over Mark Cuban's 'boy toy' comment

--Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: NBA owners like the Dallas Mavericks' Mark Cuban, left, and Commissioner David Stern came out big winners with the tentative agreement to end the NBA lockout. Credit: LM Otero / Associated Press

Phil Jackson playing nice with everyone

Lj3mnqnc As contrary as he can sometimes be, it would've been safe to presume that Lakers Coach Phil Jackson would spend his final season getting in every last dig he can.

But he's spent the last week lamenting a story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune headlined "Why does Phil hate us?" -- a rundown of zingers he's fired at New Orleans over the years. After comparing the Maloof family, owners of the Sacramento Kings, to the McCourts, embattled owners of the Dodgers, Jackson apologized for his remarks in a handwritten letter. And as the Lakers entered their Western Conference semifinal series against the Dallas Mavericks, Jackson showered nothing but praise on owner Mavericks Mark Cuban, a man with whom Jackson often trades playful barbs back and forth, about being a possible new owner of the Dodgers.

"He really improved their quality of their team," Jackson said of Cuban and the Mavericks. "... I imagine he'd do the same thing with the Dodgers."

Sure, Jackson later joked about how he wouldn't want Cuban to be an owner of a team he coached, fearful that the entrepreneur would be obtrusive behind the bench. He also made it clear he reluctantly wrote the apology to the Maloofs, cracking, "I had a gun to my head, but I did it." But during a time when Jackson is typically finding a way to tweak an official or opponent to gain a competitive edge, play a mind game or just amuse himself, he's now staying remarkably quiet.

In an interesting twist, Cuban has decided to take the same approach, joking that he's waiting for the right time to throw Jackson a punch line. When informed that Jackson considered Cuban a good candidate to buy the Dodgers, Cuban replied, "Phil is always right." When told about Jackson's handwritten apology to the Maloofs, Cuban couldn't help but remark on his own penmanship, saying, "I don't think even think my handwriting works anymore." And when asked by numerous reporters to throw some barb at Jackson, Cuban surprisingly resisted: "I'm just going to hold my tongue right now."

"I like it," Cuban said of the back-and-forth with Jackson. "It's only fun to pick on somebody if they can fight back."

But for now, Jackson's making peace.

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson on April 3, 2011. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire

Lakers refuse to engage in trash talk about Mavericks

In what appeared to be a copy of part of the Dallas Mavericks' scouting report, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson held a thick packet as he approached the media.

He didn't divulge anything regarding the Lakers' preparation for Game 1 Monday at Staples Center in what will mark the first time since 1988 they faced off in the postseason, other than saying Saturday's practice provided more of a general walk-through before focusing on specifics in Sunday's session. But toward the end of a seven-minute interview, Jackson opened the packet and showed a picture of what appeared to be a longhorn after being asked what he thought of the city of Dallas.

"Dallas, with all those steers laying around in the lawns of their city?" Jackson said with a smile. "We got one in front of our program. It's a longhorn."

That probably was the only comment remotely considered a jab at the Mavericks, who have plenty of contentious history with the Lakers despite the lack of playoff familiarity. The center of that points to Jackson and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who has shared jabs with Jackson over the years, including speaking out on officiating, Cuban calling Jackson the "boy toy" of Lakers executive vice president Jeanie Buss and Jackson saying Cuban "has the best team money can buy."

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Caught in the Web: Reactions to Lakers' 109-100 loss to Dallas Mavericks

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Game stories

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan faults the Lakers' defense in their 109-100 loss Wednesday to the Dallas Mavericks.

--The Daily Breeze's Elliott Teaford believes the Lakers lost their composure.

Notebooks

--The Times' Broderick Turner explains what got Phil Jackson so upset at Lamar Odom over a missed defensive assignment.

--The Dallas Morning News' Eddie Sefko examines how the Mavericks ended their losing skid.

--The Daily Breeze's Teaford notices Jackson remaining mum about Dallas owner Mark Cuban.

Sidebars

--The Times' Bresnahan notices the Lakers have allowed leads to slip away in the second half for three consecutive games.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding details the Lakers' poor defense.

--The Dallas Morning news presents a pretty extensive photo gallery from the Lakers-Mavericks game.

--Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix devotes part of his NBA midseason report to Tyson Chandler's progression.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin explains what's ailing the Lakers' defense. McMenamin also highlights the back-and-forth between Jackson and Cuban as well as a medical assessment on Andrew Bynum's hyperextended right elbow. 

--It's a telling sign that no Laker appears on any of Sports Illustrated's list of mid-season awards.

--The Daily Breeze's Teaford hands out mid-season report cards.

--Fox Sports' Billy Witz examines the exchanges between Jackson and Cuban as well as Derek Fisher's play.

Blogs

--ESPN Dallas' Jeff Caplan credits a team effort in the Mavericks' victory.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky breaks down the Lakers' loss.

Lakers.com's Mike Trudell details the game in a running diary.

--Silver Screen and Roll's Dexter Fishmore faults the Lakers' perimeter defense.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano breaks down the Lakers' poor defense.

--Lakers Nation's Ramneet Singh details the game with quarter-by-quarter analysis.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant appears in a Nike Kobe Zoom VI movie trailer with Bruce Willis

Radio

--I talk all things Lakers (prior to the Clippers game) to The Lakers Nation's David Brickley and Gregory Small.

Tweet of the Day: "In NYC and missing my boytoy Phil! Hahaha (thanks Mark for his new nickname) good luck in Dallas tonight babe." -- JeanieBuss (Lakers executive vice president Jeanie Buss)

Reader Comment of the Day: ""Just being lazy," center Andrew Bynum said. "I'm quite sure if you look at the tape, everybody's kind of stagnant, standstill. We were just playing lazy 'D.' ============ Ok, next question is why? If they are aware of this, then maybe a solution is to stop doing it. Have they lost the athletic ability to do so or do they just not want to do it? Guess they're just waiting for the playoffs to commit to expending that kind of energy. ============== So now the Lakers are 1-6 against winning teams on the road. That does not bode well for any playoff series where the Lakers don't have HCA unless they can improve in that area over these last 38 games. I hope they do. I think they can. I'm not sure they will." -- Art - FL Lakers Fan

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, tries to work his way past Dallas guards DeShawn Stevenson, center, and Jason Kidd during the first quarter of the Lakers' 109-100 loss Wednesday. Credit: Matthew Emmons / U.S. Presswire

Caught in the Web: Reactions to Lakers' 108-83 victory over Detroit Pistons

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Game stories

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan looks at all the drama entering the Lakers' 108-83 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

--The Daily News' Vincent Bonsignore notes that the Lakers overcame all the distractions for at least one game.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding details how the Lakers got back on track.

--The Detroit Free Press' Vince Ellis examines the Pistons' second-half meltdown.

--The Riverside Press-Enterprise's David Lassen focuses on the Lakers' dominance over Detroit.

Notebooks

--The Times' Bresnahan and myself report on the back-and-forth exchange between Mark Cuban, Phil Jackson and Jeanie Buss.

--The Daily News' Vincent Bonsignore highlights Jackson's belief that the Lakers are suffering a New Year's Eve hangover.

--The Riverside Press-Enterprise's Lassen focuses on Jackson clarifying the Ron Artest situation.

Sidebars

--The Times' Kevin Baxter highlights Kobe Bryant surpassing Dominique Wilkins for 10th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list.

--ESPN.com's Ric Bucher reports that Lakers forward Pau Gasol missed the entire morning shootaround prior to a double-digit loss Sunday to Memphis.

--Hoopsworld's Eric Pincus describes Bryant's contention that the Lakers had worse issues to deal with in the 2001-02 season.

--Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Artest loudly confronted Jackson about the coach's public criticisms, an event Jackson confirmed but said wasn't loud.

--Fox Sports' Billy Witz reports Bryant's statement that he didn't plant the various stories surrounding Artest and Gasol.

Columns

--The Times' Bill Plaschke reports that Artest is far from happy about the leak of the story concerning his confrontation with Jackson.

--The Times' T.J. Simers criticizes some of Wojnarowski's reporting regarding the Artest-Jackson situation.

--The Orange County Register's Ding credits Bryant's pre-game speech.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin argues that the Lakers' defense could be their "salvation."

--The Riverside Press-Enterprise's Gregg Patton maintains that the Lakers' win against Detroit doesn't really cure anything.

Blogs

--The Times' Broderick Turner reports Shannon Brown won't participate in the slam dunk contest this year.

--Ball Don't Lie's Eric Freeman expresses amusement over three Lakers having faulty iPhone alarm clocks.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy Kamenetzky breaks down the Lakers' victory.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky analyzes a few Lakers statistics.

--NBA.com's Sekou Smith looks at all the Lakers' drama.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell dissects the Lakers' victory with a running diary and postgame numbers.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano analyzes the Lakers' beatdown.

--Silver Screen and Rolls' DexterFishmore was impressed with the Lakers' performance.

Tweet of the Day: "THX DAD 4 BUYING ME SUCH A GOOD "GIFT"! >RT @LATimesLakers: Mark Cuban refers to Phil Jackson as Jeanie Buss' 'boy toy' http://lat.ms/dRPmdY -- JeanieBuss (Lakers executive vice president Jeanie Buss)

Reader Comment of the Day: "The Lakers looked like themselves last night ... not some bizarro mutant version of the Lakers." -- Jon K.

--Mark Medina
Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

NBA general managers predict the Lakers will three-peat and that Kevin Durant will take league MVP over Kobe Bryant

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This news may be met in this corner of the blogosphere with a collective "tell me something I didn't know" attitude, but I'll tell you anyway: According to a preseason survey, the majority of NBA general managers predict that the Lakers will three-peat.

Granted, the fine print makes it clear that not all 30 general managers voted. The percentages are based on a pool of respondents to each question. But it's not as if the results come from Mitch Kupchak voting repeatedly, like Yao Ming's fan base relentlessly votes for him to be in the All-Star game. General managers were not permitted to vote for their own team or personnel.

There are plenty of the GMs that like Miami's chances (33.3% say the Heat will win the title), and there are serious doubts about Boston's chances to offset their 2010 NBA Finals loss (3.7% say they believe the Celtics will return to the Finals and win).

Among the other findings (below the jump):

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Mavericks owner Mark Cuban proclaims Dallas has enough size and depth to beat the Lakers

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A slate of games in mid-January already seemed to be interesting, with the Lakers playing three games against Oklahoma City, Dallas and Denver in highly contested post-season preview match-ups. Well, the ante went up just a bit.

Speaking with reporters, Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban didn't mince words when he was asked whether Dallas can beat the Lakers this season: "Hell yes. That's it. Hell yes. We've got the size now. We've got the depth. We've got a lot more depth than the Lakers. It's not even close there." After he was asked what the team's expectations entailed after winning at least 50 games for nine consecutive seasons, Cuban raised the bar pretty high. "We're going to have so much depth that it's really going to give us an advantage this year," he said. "All our guys are coming in with one focus only and that's to win a championship. That's the goal. "

One could say Cuban isn't being as cautious as,  say, the Minnesota Timberwolves were with their recent full-page ad. Of course, Cuban's shooting from the hip tendencies and eye for headline-grabbing soundbites will eventually result in his quote getting boiled down to this: Dallas isn't afraid of the Lakers and it thinks it can unseat the defending champions. Yet, the actual substance of his comments aren't that far off base, even if they're incorrect. I don't agree with Cuban's contention simply because the Lakers are just more talented than Dallas and the Mavericks couldn't beat the Lakers in a seven-game series. I also don't think the Mavericks have better size and depth than the Lakers. But Cuban's factors warrant a good enough reason that Dallas could pose as a legitimate playoff opponent and maybe get a win or two in the regular season.

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