Shaquille O’Neal’s advice: Recruit Klay Thompson to be ‘highest-paid Laker in history’
NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal said if he were in a general manager position for his former team he'd be going out of his way to haul in coveted free agents.
O'Neal said he'd have a detailed three-phase plan to help fix the Los Angeles Lakers, and he would bluntly put out his marketing pitch to players like Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson.
"If I was in (former Lakers president) Magic (Johnson)'s spot, this is the first thing I'm doing: After the finals, I’m getting in touch with Klay (Thompson)," O'Neal said on PodcastOne's "The Big Podcast with Shaq," while discussing how he'd approach the 2019 free agency pool if he were among the Lakers' top brass.
"I’ll be like, ‘Klay, your contract is coming up. KD’s contract is coming up. Lots of guys’ contracts are coming up. They can’t pay you what we can pay you. You will be the highest-paid Laker in Laker history. One, I want you to come play with LeBron, and we want to get this thing cracking again. We want you to come live in LA.’
"So, I’m going to call Klay, myself, ‘I’m going to make you the highest-paid Laker in Laker history. Shaq didn’t make this much, Kobe didn’t make this much, Magic didn’t make this much, LeBron doesn’t make this much. We want to help build a team out here with LeBron. What do you say?’ Because if Klay’s going to win this year, he has four. But guess what? Klay’s not the man, he can come to LA and be the man.”
Former Los Angeles Lakers player Shaquille O'Neal (L) speaks during a statue unveiling for former player Elgin Baylor (R) prior to the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center. (Photo: Richard Mackson, USA TODAY Sports)
O'Neal, who guided the Lakers to three consecutive championships at the beginning of the millennium, also detailed second and third options in which he'd attempt to lure the Charlotte Hornets' Kemba Walker and New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis to Hollywood.
"Now, if I can’t get those three things, I’m going to be in trouble again," O'Neal said. "That’s what I’m focusing on. We’ve got the money and we’ve got the power and we’ve got the city to back it up."
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