26th Edition – July 19, 2004
Sigh… Now that a few days have passed and I’ve had time to assess the Lakers trade of Shaquille O’Neal, I’ve come to a simple conclusion–bygones. That may sound blasé, but he wanted out and his wish was granted. That’s that! I’m not going to write a long analysis of the deal or list the pros and cons of this huge transaction for either team. Instead, I just want to make one thing clear: Shaq is not blameless.
Everyone involved takes a share of the blame, but there’s this tone out there (thanks to ESPN, naysayers and other media outlets) that Kobe is the sole reason for all of the Lakers turmoil. Ladies and gentlemen, THAT’S SURDICULOUS! Did y’all see Shaq on “SportsCenter” after the trade became official? He was sitting on his high horse and making it sound as if he was a victim throughout this entire ordeal. Folks may not agree with me, but Shaq came off extremely “me oriented” in that interview.
With his S55 on 24″ rims Benz talk and how HE helped raise Penny Hardaway and Kobe Bryant and made them great. I mean how self-centered was that? As if they had no positive impact on his career (especially Kobe). General Manager of the Lakers Mitch Kupchak stated that he went to Shaq and presented him with a contract extension that would have made O’Neal the highest paid player in the league. However, it wasn’t good enough for Shaq, as a matter of fact, he felt insulted by the offer. So, the Lakers HAD to make a move to protect the franchise for the future and I have no qualms with that.
On the other hand, I do have a problem with a player who delays surgery and torpedoes HIS team’s chances to win four consecutive titles, who refuses to get in prime playing condition, who publicly belittles the GM, who WON’T defend the pick and roll, who yells at the team owner during a preseason game to “pay me,” who says “I don’t have to get along with other players, they have to get along with me,” and who publicly relishes that now that he’s back in the eastern conference, he’ll be able to “rest” and dominate inferior players. What kind of competitor would want to be in a situation like that?
So anyway, as a Laker fan, it’s disappointing to see a player of Shaq’s caliber leave, but I’ll get over it. Every team has their peaks and valleys, and the Lakers are about to embark on the latter. It’ll be interesting to watch how they get back to the mountaintop. It may be awhile, but they’ll get there. And we’ll see if Shaq can do the same for the Heat, or if the Lakers were correct in trading in a black on black S55 on 24s that recently did a lot more stalling than driving.
And another thing, you know what really kills me about Shaq? Now that he’s been traded, and he feels disrespected, he’ll finally get in shape just to prove the Lakers wrong. Is that what it takes to motivate him now?
And another thing, if the Lakers are eliminated from the playoffs next season, people will be quick to point out how Kobe couldn’t lead them (as if Rome was built in a day). But lets not forget that the Lakers haven’t won a title since 2002, and Shaq JUST left last week.
And one FINAL thing, this beef with co-stars is starting to become a pattern with Shaq. First Penny, and then Kobe. If I hear of any more quarrels involving him and another teammate, I just might pull his card too!
Take a look at this without fainting:
* Brian Cardinal, $39 million after averaging a career-best 9.6 points last season and about a point his previous three seasons.
* Mehmet Okur, $50 million after averaging 9.6 points and rarely playing after the Pistons got Rasheed Wallace.
* Hedo Turkoglu, $39 million after four seasons of averaging about eight points.
* Stephen Jackson, $44 million after the second NBA season in four in which he averaged in double figures.
* Etan Thomas, $38 million despite rarely playing in four injury-plagued seasons with the Wizards.
* Mark Blount, $42 million after averaging double figures for the first time in four NBA seasons.
* Adonal Foyle, $42 million after averaging 3.1 points in limited play this season.
* Marquis Daniels, $36 million after averaging 8.5 points as a rookie.
* Rafer Alston, $28 million after averaging in double figures for the first time in five NBA seasons.
* Brian Skinner, $25 million from the 76ers, despite his first double-figure scoring season after being injured in six of them.
* Quentin Richardson, $48 million offer sheet from Phoenix.
*Antonio McDyess, a four-year $23 million contract from the Pistons despite a shaky knee.
* The Bulls’ Jamal Crawford, is said to be getting anywhere between $50 million and $70 million from the Knicks.
* Michael Doleac, a four-year $12 million contract from the Heat.
* Derek Fisher, a six-year $37 million deal from the Warriors after averaging 7.1 points and 2.3 assists per game last season.
THIS IS ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY MINDBOGGLING.
I didn’t know the NBA had become so charitable. It’s like they’re doing their part to improve the US economy. I think it’s quite obvious that I chose the wrong profession.
Welcome back Rudy T! I’m not sure if this is what a person a year removed from cancer should be doing, but I commend his willingness to try. Good luck!
Three first round draft picks for Kenyon Martin? Seven years and $90 million for a guy who is nothing more than a glorified role player? Denver got hosed.
The Spurs will win the Glory next year.
I’m looking forward to seeing if Gary Payton (who unfortunately will be returning to the Lakers) can play his way back into the Hall of Fame next season.
How much is Kobe paying Jim Gray to be his personal reporter?
I think it’s IRONIC how Stephen A. Smith calls Kobe arrogant as he ARROGANTLY shares his opinion about EVERYTHING that transpires in the NBA.
Last off-season, last season, this off-season, and this season will undoubtedly go down as the most AMAZING two years in NBA history.
I know Carlos Boozer is catching A LOT of heat for shafting the Cavs, but I’m sure that $68 million deal will cool him off nicely.
Picture this: Kobe goes on LIVE television and says, “Yeah I told Dr. Buss if you want me to stay, then you have to get rid of Phil and Shaq.” Could you image the degree of backlash he’d receive? So even if it did happen like that, OF COURSE HE WOULD PUBLICLY DENY IT!!!
I love the NBA, there is absolutely nothing like it. Nothing!