Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal won't be disciplined for his rants against general manager Mitch Kupchak, who said the remarks were just "Shaquille being Shaquille," the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
"I don't think comments like that are professional," Kupchak told the Times. "It certainly can be handled in a different way.
"I would hope for more professional behavior," Kupchak added. "Personally, it's not important to me whether somebody likes me or our coach or each other. What's important is they're professional and they're professional in their job."
O'Neal said Friday, "It's like if I thought you could improve as a writer. I'd tell you you should use more verbs."
In an interview with the Times on Wednesday, O'Neal said that Kupchak was to blame for the sluggish negotiations on his own contract extension, and suggested that he could do a better job as the team's GM.
"The general manager we have needs to take notes from me," O'Neal told the Times. "It's a fact. Because if I was general manager, with a team like this, there'd be no problems. No problems with the Diesel, no problems with the coach, no problems with the Kobester, no problems with the owner."
The Lakers and O'Neal are $9.5 million apart in their negotiations to extend O'Neal's contract by two seasons, according to the Times.
O'Neal said he, not Kupchak, should get credit for luring Gary Payton and Karl Malone to L.A., saying the successful recruiting was a result of "my real general manager skills."
"He's the general manager," O'Neal said of Kupchak. "He's supposed to be the general that manages. That's what the term 'general manager' means …. Just write what I said. If I was the GM, there wouldn't be no problems. None whatsoever."
O'Neal insisted that the problems would not exist if Jerry West was still the team's general manager.
"Jerry never had a problem with the personnel. Jerry had a problem with the personnel, he took care of it. Jerry had a problem with the players, he took care of it."
O'Neal has already said that he hopes Jackson and Bryant stay with the team beyond this season.
“Hopefully at the end of the year, everything falls into place,” O’Neal said. “Phil’s my guy. I want Phil around.”
Regarding Bryant, O’Neal said: “I respect him. I’m the first guy to tell you, I need him. To get over the next level, I need a guy like that to be with me. I know that, I’m not afraid to say that.”
O’Neal and Bryant have had several well-documented squabbles in their seven-plus seasons as teammates. O’Neal acknowledged the two sometimes have different agendas.
“It’s never, ever, ever, ever been personal,” O’Neal said. “If he wants to stay, he’s going to stay. It’s business. I know if he does leave, it won’t be anything personal.”
When bad feelings between the Lakers’ stars resurfaced shortly before the start of this season, Bryant said if he left, at least part of the reason would be because of O’Neal.
Bryant told reporters last Friday he wanted to be a Laker for life, but added he still planned to opt out of his contract.
The Lakers have had an offer for an extension on the table for several months. Should Bryant opt out, he could sign a richer and longer deal with them than any other team.
PBT: LeBron James created self-imposed pressure to win "not two, not three, not four" titles. Thus, should the Heat's title chase fail, it's his legacy that will take the hit.
PBT: All season long, the Heat have largely coasted, only turning up their intensity when facing elimination. That won't be good enough in Game 6 tonight.
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