Shaquille O’Neal dominated Los Angeles Lakers news in the past couple of days. This was because of the unveiling of his statue at the Staples Center. Setting aside the merriment, “Shaq” blasted the other team in the City of Angels, the Clippers.
In a report by Lakers Nation, O’Neal expressed disdain towards the Clippers who “cover up” the Lakers’ championship banners and retired jerseys. This takes place each time they use the Staples Center for their home games.
“Until you win 16 championships, then you can start changing the rule. Don’t cover up my jersey. This is [Lakers] building. Don’t forget that (expletive). Y’all just leasing it. That’s our building,” O’Neal said according to the report.
As of this moment, the Clippers are playing better than the Lakers and they are the ones who own a greater chance of hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Lob City is fifth in the Western Conference standings with a 44-30 record. Meanwhile, the purple and gold franchise is last at 21-51. It is on its way to missing the playoffs for a franchise-worst four consecutive seasons, which is terrible news for their diehard supporters.
However, O’Neal may have a point when it comes to this issue. The Lakers have a storied history winning 16 titles, 11 since they transferred to Los Angeles. The Clippers, on the other hand, are yet to capture an NBA championship. The franchise always gets eliminated in the second round when it makes a postseason appearance.
There is still no comment from the Clippers regarding O’Neal’s statement. It is unlikely for the team to address this although its players could say something about it when asked in the coming days.
Continuing the talk about the Lakers and Clippers, there are rumors again connecting Blake Griffin to the Lakers. Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report suggested that the Lakers, Boston Celtics, and the Oklahoma City Thunder might be frontrunners for the explosive forward when he is ready for a fresh start.
Ding mentioned that the Clippers’ failure to achieve significant success even if they have assembled a great team could lead to Griffin’s departure when the 2016-17 season is over. The squad has been carried by its Big Three (Griffin, Chris Paul, and DeAndre Jordan) in the last five years but the curse of failing to make it past the second round continues.
If Griffin opts to leave, it is bad news for the Clippers. The former Oklahoma standout is one of the faces of the franchise since he was drafted in 2009.
If Griffin leaving is an unideal scenario for Lob City, it is great news for the Lakers who are aiming to land a star player they can build around. Since the retirement of Kobe Bryant, they were a favorite topic in rumors as they started to seek for that guy who will be the new face of the franchise. Past rumors have connected them to the likes of Paul George (Indiana Pacers) and DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors).
Before this year’s NBA trade deadline, the Lakers appeared close to accomplishing that mission. Trade news back in February stated that they almost acquired DeMarcus Cousins. Unfortunately, the negotiation with the Sacramento Kings fell apart and Cousins joined the New Orleans Pelicans.
For now, Griffin’s future career move remains undetermined. This is not the first time rumors of him signing with the Lakers circulated. Last season, when dealing with injuries and an off-court issue, a move to the Lakers was seen as a great possibility for the 28-year-old.
It is uncertain if the Lakers are interested in Griffin since the focus is likely on their young core. But, new general manager Rob Pelinka mentioned in his press conference weeks ago that he is willing to move pieces if needed.
[Featured Image by Rick Bowmer/AP Images]