The Big Fortune Teller?
During an appearance on ESPN today, legendary Los Angeles Lakers big man Shaquille O’Neal predicted that Kevin Durant will sign with the purple and gold this summer.
“Kevin Durant will play for whom next season?” O’Neal was asked.
“Los Angeles Lakers,” O’Neal replied.
Here’s the clip:
Laker fans everywhere will be hoping that O’Neal is right.
With Kobe Bryant retiring just days ago, there is suddenly a huge hole on the Lakers’ roster. For the first time in decades, the Lakers don’t have a superstar player on their team, though the addition of Durant would soon change that.
Shaq was the last big signing for the Lakers during free agency way back in 1996 – you know, the year when that Kobe guy was drafted – so he definitely knows a thing or two about being pursued by the purple and gold.
Plus, as a former Laker turned analyst and part-owner of the Sacramento Kings, O’Neal is obviously well connected to the league and it’s players, so maybe he’s heard a little something that has led him to believe that Durant is headed to Hollywood.
However, at the end of the day, Laker fans probably shouldn’t get too excited by this statement. The chances of the Lakers signing Durant are still slim.
Yes, O’Neal once left the Orlando Magic – who were coming off a Finals appearance in 1995 and an Eastern Conference Finals loss in 1996 – for the Lakers, but the Collective Bargaining Agreement was different then, meaning the purple and gold could offer Shaq more money than his current team were willing to give him.
Due to modern day CBA rules, the Lakers can’t do that now.
Still, you can never rule anything out in the NBA, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens in July.