Mark Cuban: ‘You’ve Got To Give Kobe Some Time’

Mark Cuban dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Wednesday to discuss numerous NBA topics, including the Los Angeles Clippers, Kobe Bryant and the late Flip Saunders.

Cuban, of course, was jilted by DeAndre Jordan over the summer and may have vented some lingering frustrations last week, saying “Look, the Clippers are the Clippers. You can change the players, you can change the owner, but the Clippers are who they’ve been for the last 30 years.”

In other words, the Clippers were – and are – irrelevant.

Any regret in saying that, Mark?

“No, no, not at all,” Cuban said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “And it was passive-aggressive. If I wanted to get mean, I could get mean and I wasn’t. So it was a little bit of a dig. It wasn’t anything bad and we move on. It wasn’t a big deal.”

While the Clippers are off to a hot 4-0 start, the Lakers (0-4) remain winless, with Kobe Bryant averaging just 15.8 points on 32.3 percent shooting from the floor.

“You got to give Kobe some time,” Cuban said. “You don’t come back from basically missing most of two seasons and just think you’re going to step right in, whether you’re 25 or 37. And so, no one wants it better than Kobe or more than Kobe. So I don’t think the Kobe we’re seeing right now is who we’re going to see the rest of the season. I think he’ll kick in.”

Cuban did point out that the Lakers have some good young pieces in Julius Randle and others, but he’s not exactly sad that the Lakers are struggling.

“There’s no love lost,” Cuban said. “I want them to suck forever still, but they do have a lot of bright spots.”

Cuban was also asked about Flip Saunders, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma earlier this year and passed away on Oct. 25. Cuban was asked if Saunders’ death reminded him of his own mortality.

“Oh, yeah,” the 57-year-old Cuban said. “Oh, its horrible. I mean, look, once you hit the age of 50, every little pain, every little ache just becomes a flash point, a trigger. To see what happened to Flip – I was at an NBA Board of Governors meeting last weekend and I asked Glen Taylor, the owner of the Timberwolves, ‘How’s Flip doing?’ And he just shook his head, and he’s like, ‘We thought it’d be nothing and he’d come back and he’s taken a turn.’ Then a couple days later he was gone.”

Saunders, one of the top coaches of his era, was beloved inside and outside of the NBA.

“Yeah, he was such a great guy,” Cuban said. “I can’t say we were best friends, but he would just send me emails and we would chit-chat when we were around each other. Nobody ever had a bad word to say about him. It just makes you realize how fleeting everything is, and just to know he’s gone, it’s incredible.”

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