‘Shaquille O’Neal Wanted to Leave LA’: Former Miami Heat Center Details About Getting Traded to Lakers

Published 04/25/2021, 10:52 AM EDT
(GERMANY OUT) Shaquille O’Neal Basketballspieler Miami Heat; USA: neben Kobe Bryant (l., Los Angeles Lakers) (Photo by Pressefoto Ulmerullstein bild via Getty Images)


Shaquille O’Neal was arguably one of the best players in the league in the early 2000s. The 7’0″ center was a beast on the floor and could dominate anyone who guarded him.

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Being the epicenter of a Los Angeles Lakers team, Shaq guided the Purple and Gold to three consecutive championships along with Kobe Bryant. The Lakers surely wanted to continue their elite championship run and added two Hall of Famers in Karl Malone and Gary Payton for the 2003-04 season.

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While the Lakers did steam-roll past the majority of the opponents, they ultimately couldn’t leapfrog the rugged defense of the Detroit Pistons and couldn’t win the fourth chip in a row. With the 2004-05 off-season coming soon, the Lakers had a big decision at their hands.

Former Heat center opens up about going to the Lakers in the Shaquille O’Neal trade

The 2004 off-season rather was the breaking point between the Lakers and Shaq, who ultimately wanted a trade. Two teams were on the radar who could trade for the 3-time Finals MVP, the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks.

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Former Heat center Brian Grant spoke about the same in a recent appearance at a podcast. Grant said, “What I found out on ESPN was that Shaq wanted to leave LA. They were looking to move him, and there were two places he’d go to, Dallas and Miami. I was like, ‘Gina, get your sh*t. We’re gone. We’re going to get traded.’ She said, ‘Not necessarily.’ I said, ‘We’re going to get traded’.”

Grant spoke about how disappointed he was with the trade. “Sure enough, I was in Ohio still when Shaq decided to go to Miami, and so they made the trade. Of course, I didn’t want to leave, and I was hurt from that standpoint, but from the other standpoint, I got it. It was a great move, and the organization was so good to me and my family. I appreciated it.”

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Miami went all-in for the O’Neal trade in 2004. They traded away Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Brian Grant, and a future first-round pick for the superstar. Although it might seem a lot, it ultimately benefitted the Heat who won their first championship in the 2005-06 season.

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Aditya Mohapatra

704 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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