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The Lakers, intent on trading a disgruntled Shaquille O'Neal, might make a deal with the Heat that would include Lamar Odom, Brian Grant and probably
a first-round draft pick, sources told the Riverside Press-Enterprise for Thursday's editions.
The team is considering a handful of the 17 or 18 offers it has received for the center, the paper reports.
"Just like the coach deal with Phil [Jackson] being let go, Dr. Buss thinks it's time to deal Shaq," a team source told the paper.
The team is close to replacing Jackson with coach Rudy Tomjanovich. ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher reports that the deal to hire Tomjanovich is
basically finished, with negotiations now centering on who will be on the coaching staff.
At the same time, free agent Kobe Bryant met with four teams, including the Lakers and the Clippers.
Tomjanovich tried to contact O'Neal, the paper reported, and Shaq left a message in response.
"I just feel terrible for Rudy because I wanted to play for him," O'Neal said, according to the paper. "But I ain't coming back there."
Sources told the Press-Enterprise that O'Neal's representatives have shot down potential deals. The Kings, one of the teams O'Neal is willing to play
for, reportedly backed away from talks.
ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reports that any deal involving O'Neal could also involve a third team since the Pacers or Mavericks have been involved in
these discussions, but that nothing is imminent.
My comments: If he's not staying with the Lakers, I hope it happens because I'd rather see him in Miami than Dallas.
[Edited on 9/7/04 by TRD]
[Edited on 7/17/2004 by William]