4-Time Champion & Hall of Famer Wants $100 Million to Coach Lakers

Lakers bench

Getty The Lakers bench

The Los Angeles Lakers need a new head coach after firing Frank Vogel and one of the best players in franchise history is willing to take the job for $100 million.

Shaquille O’Neal, who won three championships with the Lakers, said if Los Angeles offered him a four-year, $100 million deal, he’d leave his job as an in-studio analyst on “NBA on TNT” to coach LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

“If the Lakers offered me $25 million a year for four years, I’ll coach the Lakers,” O’Neal said on the April 20 episode of The Big Podcast with Shaq. “I need a four-year contract. I’ll coach ’em right now.”

O’Neal, who played on the Cleveland Cavaliers with James in 2009-10, was critical of this year’s Lakers squad, which went 33-49 and missed the playoffs.

O’Neal: James & Davis Should Be Only Players Back from This Year’s Team

O’Neal told Joe Musso of CBS Sports on April 3 that the Lakers should only bring back James and Davis from this year’s team, which was the oldest in the NBA.

“We gotta get rid of expiring contracts. We gotta get rid of the projects that didn’t work. And we gotta try to get younger and more athletic around LeBron,” O’Neal said. “Because paper-wise, when everybody did the deals, it was like, ‘Ooh Westbrook, ooh this (and) that.’ But age is a factor. A.D. was hurt all year. I think he played last night, but gotta keep him healthy. So you still keep LeBron and A.D. and you prolly gotta make moves for everybody else.”

James, Davis, Westbrook, Talen-Horton Tucker, Kendrick Nunn, Stanley Johnson, Wenyen Gabriel and Austin Reaves are the only Lakers under contract for next season. Westbrook has a player option worth $47,063,478 that he’s expected to pick up. However, there is speculation that the Lakers will attempt to part ways with Westbrook before next season, with the Indiana Pacers being a possible trade partner, according to an April 11 story by The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Westbrook proved to be a poor fit next to James and Davis because of his poor shooting (29.8% from beyond the arc) and problems with turnovers (295, second-most in the league).

Next Lakers Coach Might Not Have Westbrook

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Lakers’ search for Vogel’s replacement is expected to be “expansive and lengthy.” Charania wrote in his April 11 story that Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse is among the Lakers’ top targets.

Whoever takes the L.A. job might not have Westbrook — who had a plus-minus of –211 this season — at starting point guard after he appeared to bash the organization during his exit interview.

“When I first got here … Unfortunately, people create narratives of who I am and what I do and what I believe in that just aren’t true,” Westbrook told reporters on April 11 when asked if he’d felt scapegoated by the Lakers. “I’m always having to prove myself again year after year after year, which to me is just unfair. There’s no reason for me to have to do that. So when I first got in here, I just felt that I never was given a fair chance just to be who I needed to be to help this team.”

On April 17, rapper Master P told TMZ that he wanted to coach the Lakers and would hire O’Neal as one of his assistants: “Bring me in. I can help get us some W’s, championships. … At least give me a shot. I’ll bring some hell of assistant coaches with me. Shaq, John Lucas. I don’t know if Shaq wants to do that, but if he do, we can take over. I can’t see another team like that.”

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