Lakers owner Jeanie Buss reveals that they had to trade their superstar Shaquille O’Neal to Miami as he demanded too much money.
Shaquille O’Neal is unarguably the most dominant figure in all of NBA basketball. The 7-foot-1 325-pound monster was too gruesome for any defender to guard. In his nearly 20-year long career, Shaq commanded over the paint on both sides of the court. His overly stacked resume lets us know what he is considered to be the greatest center of all time.
However, Kobe Bryant had a major role in helping Shaq win his three championships with the Lakers. Back in the summer of 1996, as the Los Angeles Lakers completed the trade acquiring a young 17-year-old, a fifth-year Shaq too, announced his signing with LAL. Little the world know that this duo was going to be the most iconic pair of all time.
Only after a couple of years, the duo delivered the championships they had promised. Right through 2000-2001 to the 2002-2003 season, the Hall-Of-Famers helped the Lakers successfully clinch a three-peat.
“It wasn’t because of Kobe Bryant that we had to trade Shaq away”: Jeanie Buss
Despite their talents, the Lakers lost to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA finals. A Chauncey Billups-led Pistons team managed to dethrone the champions after beating them 4-1 in the finals.
In that same offseason, 15-time All-Star Shaquille O’Neal was traded away to Miami joining Dwyane Wade. One of NBA’s biggest mysteries – why did the LA Lakers trade away their big man? People just assumed that it was because of the falling between their two superstars and their egos off the court.
However, nearly 15 years later, Jeanie Buss revealed why the big man was let go to the Heat. The current Lakers owner disclosed:
“He [Shaquille O’Neal] wanted an amount of money that was legal under the CBA but it wasn’t what my dad [then-Lakers owner Dr Jerry Buss] wanted to pay him. And so it came to the point where the decision was made to trade Shaq. A lot of people want to put that blame on Kobe. It wasn’t. It was purely a money situation.”
Well after all these years of blaming Kobe for Shaq’s exit, it seems pretty clear that LAL couldn’t meet his unreal salary demands. We can only imagine how many more championships would Kobe and Shaq win together had the Lakers agreed to meet O’Neal’s demands. Irrespective, the duo will go down as one of the greatest 1-2 punches in NBA history.