Shaquille O’Neal Admits He Should’ve Taken Less Money To Stay With Lakers In 2004
Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Lakers

The duo of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal is on the short list of greatest duos of all time, bringing the Los Angeles Lakers three straight championships from 2000-02. Those early 2000s Lakers are considered one of the greatest dynasties ever, but despite their success, many still focus on what could’ve been.

The Lakers, of course, would trade away O’Neal to the Miami Heat after the 2004 season and turn the team over completely to Kobe. While the franchise would eventually build itself back up with Bryant as the leader and would win two more championships in 2009 and 2010, it still feels like the Kobe-Shaq duo could have accomplished much more.

While many have pointed to the issues between Shaq and Kobe as to why things broke apart, the other big issue was that O’Neal wanted another big contract and the Lakers were hesitant to give it to him. But now, years later, O’Neal believes he should have taken less money and turned the team over to Bryant, via Alpha Inspiration:

“The reason I was traded, it wasn’t about me and Kobe’s beef it was cuz they wanted me to take less money. I’m not doin that… I got money, I had money. I just should’ve been like alright, I raised you enough it’s your team now. I know what I’ma do I’m still gonna do my 28 and 10, but I was like nah, I want $150 [million].”

It is hard to fault Shaq for wanting his big contract as he was still the centerpiece of the Lakers at that point and had solidified his spot as arguably the most dominant big man ever. But Kobe was clearly ready to take over and as the younger of the duo, the Lakers were focused on doing whatever they could to ensure he remained with the franchise forever.

With Bryant being a free agent that offseason and the Los Angeles Clippers doing everything in their power to convince him to sign with them, the Lakers braintrust felt a Shaq trade was necessary as the big man was very vocal and took shots at then-owner Dr. Jerry Buss throughout the season.

Ultimately, everything turned out the way it did with O’Neal getting his money and another championship in Miami while Bryant got his own team and eventually winning two more rings. But both Shaq and Kobe have said that there were championships to be won if the two could have figured out a way to make it work, and it is hard to disagree.

Lakers’ LeBron James never worries when Anthony Davis has a bad game

The Lakers’ current star duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis have already brought home one championship but hope to do more. Things are beginning to click for this year’s version of the team, but the inconsistency of Davis has been concerning at times.

But LeBron doesn’t worry when Davis has a bad game, as the Lakers star revealed he knows Davis will bounce back but sometimes he just needs a ‘kick in the ass.’ James called Davis one of the most dynamic players in the league while adding that himself and the rest of the Lakers must look to find him at all times.

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