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NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal offers to coach LA Lakers

The Hall of Famer and four time NBA champion told The Big Podcast he would be happy to take over at the struggling Lakers... for $100m.

Shaq laughs off idea Gobert would keep him to 12 points: "Yeah, in three minutes"
Kevin C. CoxAFP

A capacity for barbed statements an epic verbosity are two of the characteristics that have defined Shaquille O’Neal throughout his storied career. The former LA Lakers and Miami Heat center, one of the greatest players the NBA has ever witnessed, often uses his spot on TNT with Charles Barkley to hark back to the old days, when everything was better, according to the two analysts. On one more than one occasion O’Neal has caused more than a touch of controversy with his views, but for every provocative statement he has made there has another accompanied by his unparalleled insight that caused certain amusement or the sage nodding of heads within NBA circles.

O’Neal: $100m to coach Lakers

Talking on The Big Podcast, where he was jokingly asked about the possibility of coaching the Lakers, who recently parted company with Frank Vogel, O’Neal responded swiftly and, with tongue firmly in cheek, set his price. “If they offered me $25 million a year for four years, I would coach the Lakers,” he said. “If they give me a four-year contract I’ll coach them right now.”

O’Neal today works as a respected analyst and while few would doubt his ability to motivate his former team, the likelihood of anyone offering that kind of remuneration in the NBA is remote in the extreme. The highest-paid coach in the NBA at the moment is Gregg Popovich, head coach and president of the San Antonio Spurs, who earns a reported $11.5m a season.

The vacancy at the Lakers has led to suggestions that O’Neal could be parachuted in as assistant to another head coach and rapper Master P, a good friend of the former player, suggested that the Hall of Famer could be drafted onto the technical roster. O’Neal though said he would only consider going straight into the big chair, albeit on a salary that few active players command in an era of economic boom and huge television deals in the NBA.


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