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Jeanie Buss Reveals How Jerry Buss Told Phil Jackson About The Shaquille O'Neal Trade In 2004: "It Won't Matter To You Because You're Not Coming Back as Coach Either"

Jeanie Buss Reveals How Jerry Buss Told Phil Jackson About The Shaquille O'Neal Trade In 2004: "It Won't Matter To You Because You're Not Coming Back as Coach Either"

The Los Angeles Lakers are arguably the most star-studded franchise in the history of NBA basketball. They have had most of the biggest names in basketball history wear their jersey and represent the LakeShow on the court. They are also the most successful NBA franchise in history with 17 championships, tied with the Boston Celtics. 

Most of that success was brought to the franchise by former owner Jerry Buss, who transformed the team after purchasing it in 1979. Buss won 10 championships with the Lakers, and another chip has been added to their collection by his daughter Jeanie in 2020.

After the Lakers failed to defeat the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 Finals, the team was facing an inevitable crossroads which saw them having to choose between Shaquille O'Neal or Kobe Bryant as the wildly successful duo could no longer co-exist. Jeanie told the story of how Shaq was traded to Miami and how her father broke the news to coach Phil Jackson. 

"When Shaq got traded, that was really hard. I tell the story about how my dad made the decision because he couldn't pay Shaq the money that he could earn under the collective bargaining agreement, so a trade was coming up. At the end of the season. Phil (Jackson) went to meet my father. He went in and said 'you can't trade Shaq, he's the most dominant player in the league. You can't trade him.' My dad said, 'well, I am gonna trade him and it won't matter to you because you're not coming back as coach either. That's not your problem.'  

The Lakers were going for something new and they did so by letting Shaq go. While Buss says that the Lakers couldn't afford to keep Shaq, many believe the move was because of internal tension between Kobe and Shaq. Buss has previously said this wasn't the case. Ultimately, Shaq got to win a championship in Miami and Kobe would win 2 titles in 2009 and 2010, with Phil Jackson as his coach again. 

Managing star players is not easy but it seems the Lakers specialize in dealing with these situations. What they aren't specialists in is losing, so the current state of the team must be tough for Jeanie to accept, especially with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the roster.