Under Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, the Lakers won the triple crown (2000-2002), so many thought they could dominate as Chicago with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, who won six championship rings (1991-1993, 1996).
-1998), especially because Zen Master Phil Jackson was also sitting on the bench of the team from LA. However, after the unexpectedly easy defeat of the Lakers in the grand final against Detroit (4-1) in 2004, Shaquille decided to raise the anchor and sail from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast - Miami.
"Shack beat himself against Detroit. He played too passively. He had (only) one big game. He's always interested in being a scorer, but he didn't have nearly enough concentration in defense and rebounds," the Lakers' assistant coach Tex said at the time.
That produced insinuations that Shaq was not actually in a great realtionship with Kobe. O'Neal added extra fuel to the fire with a clumsy statement that the team's decisions were focused on the desire to satisfy Bryant, excluding all other worries, which is why he asked for a trade ...
Then the general manager of the Lakers, Mitch Kupchak, accepted his request and started looking for a team that would agree to trade. He first called Dallas, trying to hire Nowitzki, but Mav's owner Mark Cuban flatly turned down the offer.
Miami, meanwhile, showed up, so Shaq returned to Florida, but not to Orlando. Only later did Winter say that the real reason for O'Neal's departure was actually that the Lakers could not significantly raise his salary.
“His demands held the franchise as a hostage, and that is why the owner (Jerry Bass) didn’t like it too much,” Winter tried to explain. But, it was in vain to "erase" the story in public about the disagreement between the two players, because of which Shaq allegedly asked to leave.
Buss on Shaq's departure
Today, 15 years later, Jeanie Buss, the daughter of ex Lakers boss, the current owner of the majority stake, and the president of the team, who was also informed about the events in the team from several angles (she was in an emotional relationship with Phil Jackson for more than a decade), claims that money was actually the reason for O'Neal's departure.
"Shaq wanted the money that was allowed by the collective agreement, but it didn't match the amount my father wanted to pay. And then came the moment when it was decided to swap(with Miami)." "Many believe that Kobe is to blame for Shaq's departure.
"But that's not true. The whole situation was just about money," she said on "Showtime basketball." It is difficult to conclude whether that is exactly the case, that is, whether only the money was in question, even when the landlord says that, especially if you look at Shaq's income at that time.
Namely, on October 1, 2003, almost a year before the quarrel, O'Neal signed a three-year contract with the Lakers worth the then fabulous 88,500,000 dollars, according to which he was the second-highest-paid player in the NBA in the 2003-2004 season (24,749,999 dollars) and in the 2004-2005 season the highest-paid (27,696,430).
In 2005, after one year of playing for Miami, he decided to terminate it, in order to sign a new one, according to which he was again the highest paid in the 205-2006 season. 20,000,000), ie the second in the season 2006-2007 (20,000,000), the third in the season 2007-2008 (20,000,000) ...
Whatever happened, with perhaps the best tandem in the recent history of the NBA, Lakers team failed to repeat the feat of Jordan's (and Pippen's) Chicago. They won "only" three championship rings, while Kobe "alone" added two more, and Shaq took one prize in a Miami jersey ...