“He’d Trade Anybody For Me”: When Mark Cuban Was Ready to Trade Anyone to Get Shaquille O’Neal Except For Dirk Nowitzki
2024/04/02

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The Los Angeles Lakers made headlines in 2004 when they showed their willingness to trade their star center, Shaquille O'Neal. This sparked a tug-of-war between teams, with the Dallas Mavericks, led by owner Mark Cuban, expressing interest in acquiring O'Neal.

 According to Shaq's autobiography, "Shaq Uncut," Larry Bird of the Indiana Pacers and Isiah Thomas of the New York Knicks were also interested in signing him. Bird reportedly offered anyone from his roster, while Thomas offered up his entire team, although they didn't have much to offer.

Other teams, such as the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks, were also interested in O'Neal, but the options began to narrow down as the offseason progressed.

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Eventually, it came down to two teams: the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks. Despite being a small market team at the time, the Mavericks were determined to bring O'Neal on board. 

Mark Cuban flew in to meet with O'Neal and expressed his desire to trade anyone on the team except for Dirk Nowitzki, who was considered his guy.

O'Neal's dominance on the court made him a highly sought-after player, as he had already helped the Lakers win three consecutive championships from 2000 to 2002. 

The Mavericks recognized the potential impact O'Neal could have on their team and were willing to part ways with other players to make the trade happen.

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In the end, O'Neal joined the Miami Heat in July 2004.

The trade proved to be successful for O'Neal, as he helped the Heat reach the NBA Finals in his second year with the team. 

They faced off against the Mavericks, and O'Neal's contributions were instrumental in the Heat winning their first-ever championship. Despite their success after parting ways, both O'Neal and Bryant expressed regret about not continuing their partnership, believing they could have won even more championships together. 

Their egos and differences ultimately hindered their potential for greatness, leaving them with a sense of unfulfillment in their careers.

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