Could Shaq be headed back to Los Angeles?
There’ve been a lot of dominant players in the NBA over the years, but few players have been more dominant than at the center position. Lott people give recognition to players like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Lebron James for being dominant players, but it has been the big men in the league that dominated for decades.
Throughout the history of the league, different eras have been defined by dominant centers like the Boston Celtics Bill Russell, Philadelphia 76ers wilt Chamberlain, Los Angeles Lakers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon and most recently Shaquille O’Neal.
Unlike his predecessors, Shaq has been a dominant center for quite a few NBA franchises like the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat. Wilt Chamberlain had his go around in the NBA playing for the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers, Kareem did too with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers, but Shaq has won an NBA title with two different teams in the Lakers and the Heat and is still a force to be reckoned with after 17 seasons in the league.
Obviously, Shaq’s career in the league is quickly coming to an end as he is not getting any younger and is no longer thought of as a first option player in the offense. This season Shaq had high hopes of winning his fifth NBA title with a third NBA franchise playing alongside LeBron James in Cleveland, but the Cavs weren’t able to even get back to the Eastern Conference finals after being dominated in every aspect of the game against the Boston Celtics in the second round of the playoffs.
Now that the Cleveland Cavaliers have been knocked out of contention and the offseason has officially begun, the future of LeBron James has started to get a lot speculation and attention. Heading into the playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers were without a doubt the frontrunner to sign LeBron come July 1st, but after this ugly first round exit, Cleveland could very well be second or third on the list behind the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls.
There is still quite a bit of time between now and July 1st and anything can happen, but smart money says that LeBron James will be playing elsewhere next season. Not only is LeBron most likely headed out of town, but Shaquille O’Neal will also become a free agent this summer and most people thought he would finally call it a career, but he has already said that he intends to come back for at least one more season.
Not only has Shaq said that he wants to play next season, but he has also said that he wants to play for two, three or maybe even four more years in the league.
Will Shaq play for four more years in the NBA?
Probably not. I’m not saying that Shaq can’t play for that long because he probably can in a different role, maybe even off the bench, but chances are that a team is not going to sign him for that long.
Now the speculation on where Shaq will end up will begin. He will not get even as close to the amount of attention compared to LeBron James, but he definitely can still help an NBA franchise win an NBA title.
Some say he will re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but I believe there is an outside chance he may end up back with the Los Angeles Lakers in a reserve role off the bench.
During his time with the Los Angeles Lakers, Shaq won three NBA titles and was the most dominant player in the league at the time. Times have definitely changed since he was playing in the triangle offense for Phil Jackson, but it would be hard to argue that playing for the Lakers once again isn’t his best shot at winning one or maybe even two more NBA titles before he calls it a career.
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