Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 at 9:20 am  |  22 responses

Shaquille O’Neal: Mitch Kupchak to Blame for Trade from Lakers

Shaq’s heavily excerpted book continues to deliver some highly-entertaining revisionist history. According to the LA Times, O’Neal blames Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak for creating the distrust that led to his infamous trade from Los Angeles: “According to the book, Kupchak promised to grant Shaq a contract extension following the 2003-04 season and not to discuss their contract negotiations publicly. Once the 2003-04 season ended, however, O’Neal was disturbed by an apparent interview in which Kupchak revealed the Lakers’ plan to hold onto Bryant while keeping their options open with O’Neal. ‘That was it. That was the end of me in a Lakers uniform. Mitch broke our agreement. How could I trust him again?’ Shaq writes in the book. ‘For months, I kept waiting for Mitch to come to me and say, ‘Shaq, you’re getting older, we need some new players. Mr. Buss doesn’t want to pay you and Kobe doesn’t want you here.’ But that conversation never happened. So that was when I demanded a trade. I couldn’t trust Mitch anymore and it was clear Kobe was now the one with all the power.’ That sounds both simplistic and inaccurate. O’Neal’s trade to the Miami Heat for Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Brian Grant and a first-round draft pick wasn’t the result of just one interview by Kupchak. O’Neal’s clashes with Bryant were inescapable. Phil Jackson, whom Shaq writes about in a respectful tone in the book, was let go after the Lakers’ 2004 NBA Finals loss to Detroit. And Shaq didn’t exactly remain on Buss’ good side. During an exhibition game in Honolulu, Shaq loudly yelled to Buss to ‘pay me.’ Skeptical of O’Neal’s injury history, work ethic and $30-million-a-year asking price, Buss also remained reluctant to grant him an extension. Still, Shaq says, he no longer felt any support from the Lakers’ front office once Kupchak succeeded Jerry West after the 1999-2000 season. ‘Once you deal with someone like Jerry West, you better come up with someone pretty special to keep my attention,’ O’Neal writes. ‘Unfortunately, Mitch wasn’t that guy for me. We never got along. Mitch looked out for two people: himself and Jerry Buss. The rest of us were afterthoughts.’”

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  • luke

    btw, when is the book supposed to come out?

  • T-Money

    eff shaq. i’m already tired of this book. when is it ever his fault?

  • Ali

    Thank you T-Money… To many Shaq storylines these past few weeks SLAM!

  • http://www.twitter.com/_dfrance dfrance21

    Yeah I think we’ve all had enough of the excerpts. For someone as beloved as Shaq he really has an “everyone is/was against me” complex thats really annoying.

  • Yesse

    First it was Kobe. Now Mitch? Anyways, if Shaq and Kobe would have stuck together they might have more championships than Pippen and MJ by now.

  • kobesBESTfriend

    Shaq is gonna talk himself out of a statue and a retired # in at staples if he keeps this up

  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER


  • Red Star

    This book may not have been in Shaq’s best interest but it sure is entertaining!

  • ClayDefayette

    The scale was to blame for Shaq being traded.

  • robb

    Shaq’s getting really annoying. “They did this, they did that, I’m a victim blah,blah,blah”. Next thing he’ll say Ed Palubinskas is to blame for his low FT %

  • http://myspace.com/gametimeweezy Gametimeweezy

    Nooooo… he TRADED you. Whats to blame???

  • LA Huey

    The Big Victim

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    So, some of y’all actually liked Shaq before?

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    He’s blamed Mitch all along. Remember that interview he did with SLAM after joining the Heat?
    Dude said something like “Way to go, Mitch. You just traded away one of the greatest centers of all time…dumba**” lol
    BTW, wonder who he’s gonna blame for being traded from Miami to Phoenix?
    That was purely him unwilling to sink with the ship, trying to save face from being on a 15 win team.
    Horrible teammate for that one.

  • James Aka…

    @ Allenp: Shaq as a public figure goes through stages, so its possible to have liked him then hated him, maybe switching more than once. When he was young and exciting, and goofing in bad movies and music videos, he was likeable. When he started bulldozing guys on the lakers, he wasn’t likeable. when his goofiness reemerged, like at the all star games where he showed off his shaqcessories, that was endeering. When he asked a harder working man to give him a rim job, not so much. when he played his way out of phoenix, demanded to be considered relevant in cleveland, and according to him, threatened to punch glen davis over not getting a touch, then wrote a book about it, it was nausiating. It would be like if michael jordan took care of himself like charles barkley. All the ego, non of the hard work.

  • LA Huey

    Shaq is just Barkley with rings? I can see that. I also feel like I’m the only one that thinks, now that Shaq’s joined, Inside the NBA will become too much on the stupid comment side and little on the insight of a pro baller side.

  • T-Money

    allen: i’ve gone back and forth on shaq for years, almost decades lol. he’s a larger-than-life dude and really does some impromptu cool stuff like paying for everyone that’s waiting in line at a walmart or visiting some random kid that he heard about or taking care of a random situation he sees on tv or in the news without asking for anything in return, not even publicity… BUT there seems to be a dark place in his heart behind that gigantic 1000-watt smile, and when he goes into that space, it gets really ugly.

  • James Aka…

    I see shaq as mix of barkely and MJ in a narrow way. He has a resentful attitude when he feels sleighted, like MJ most famously showed when he was inducted into the hall, and he was able to accomplish a lot professionally in spite of the way he didn’t care for his own physical self, due to some amazing gifts. Shaqs size, strength, agility and coordination were unreal. That famous video of him clowning with MJ at the all star game where he starts to move like a guard and actually shakes jordan then hits a spinning fall away, thats something you look at and say ‘wow, he could almost do anything’, except that he wasn’t willing to put the time and effort in to make it happen. Now some may argue being a pathalogical competitor is unhealthy, but theres no reason shaq couldn’t have both had fun and been dedicated, like steve nash is.

  • http://slamonline.com 1982

    If you’ve ever been a fan of Shaq (even if you flip-flopped on his likeability over the years), then you know this was how he always was. He puts on a show for the cameras because he likes the publicity, and it can only help his larger-than-life persona. But even his early books featured a lot of the same stuff, just smaller names. His book from his Orlando days had quotes that basically said “I always wanted to be a Laker, but Orlando drafted me and I want to prove I’m the #1 pick, etc.” Personally, I always liked him, and I’m going to buy this book when it eventually goes on sale. And Luke, the books supposed to come out the middle of this month.

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    Why are you all clicking on these links if you’re not interested in Shaq any more?

  • Heals

    @Ugh, bingo…

  • Zabbah

    Tired of Shaq quotes? Are you kidding me? This is the best NBA news since the lockout started. When the lockout ends that’s when I’ll complain about over-exposure on Shaq’s book.