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Shaquille O'Neal Reveals He Didn't Leave The Lakers Because Of Kobe Bryant: "They Wanted Me To Take Less Money."
By Aikansh Chaudhary,
Shaquille O'Neal left the Los Angeles Lakers for money, not because of his beef with Kobe Bryant.
Shaquille O'Neal had the best years of his career when he donned the iconic Purple and Gold jersey. Many believe that Shaq left the Lakers in 2004 because of his beef with Kobe Bryant.
But that's not it. In fact, Shaquille O'Neal revealed in a podcast appearance that the reason he left the Lakers had nothing to do with his feud with Kobe Bryant. Instead, a primary reason behind his departure was not getting enough money from the Los Angeles Lakers.
"The reason why I got traded, it wasn’t about me and Kobe’s beef. It was that they wanted me to take less money. I’m not doing that," Shaq said. "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’m going to do. I’m still going to do my 28 and 10.’ But I was like, ‘Nah, I want $150 [million].’"
Later in the interview, O'Neal revealed that if he had a chance to do it all over again, he would stay with the Lakers for the rest of his career instead of leaving in 2004.
"If I had to do it all again, I probably would have had a meeting with the family. ‘What y’all want to do? You want me to take less money, take a lesser role, stay here, or do you still want me to be Shaq?’” O’Neal added. "See, it’s that ego. The ego still got me what I wanted. I still went to Miami, Pat took care of me, and I still won one. But I would have liked to stay [in L.A.] the rest of my career."
In July 2004, the Lakers traded Shaq to the Miami Heat for Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, Caron Butler, a future first-round pick, and a future second-round draft pick.
Did Shaquille O'Neal Get Paid By The Miami Heat?
Shaquille O'Neal was looking to secure a huge payday from the Los Angeles Lakers prior to getting traded to the Miami Heat.
Following his trade to South Beach, O'Neal signed a contract worth $40 million spanned over two years. Keeping that in mind, Shaq took a pay cut to join the Miami Heat as he made $27.6 million in his final season with the Purple and Gold.
In his second season with the Heat, O'Neal helped a young Dwyane Wade lead the team to the 2006 NBA title. It was the final NBA Championship of the legendary center's career as he continued to regress over the years.
But what if stayed with the Lakers for the rest of his career? Could he have won at least a couple of more rings? Unfortunately, that'll remain one of the biggest what-ifs in the history of the league.
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