Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t just know what it takes to become one of the league’s best players, but he also knows what it takes to be a Los Angeles Laker. O’Neal—who spent eight years in Los Angeles (1996-2004) winning three championships there—was teammates with Kobe Bryant on some of the greatest team’s to ever take the floor in NBA history.
O’Neal was teammates with such players like Bryant, Karl Malone, Gary Payton, Eddie Jones, and Derek Fisher during his tenure in Los Angeles. While looking at the current roster of Lakers players, O’Neal says there is one young player on the team who the Lakers simply cannot trade.
The player, forward Kyle Kuzma, was one of the many Lakers players the team was looking to move for New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis. O’Neal thinks the team’s willingness to trade Kuzma would have been the wrong move and voiced his opinion onInside the NBA on TNT on Thursday, Feb. 7 after Rajon Rondo’s game-winner in the Lakers’ 129-128 win over Boston.
“I don’t think Kyle Kuzma should ever be on the trading block,” O’Neal said .”I like that kid. I like the way he plays… I’m never trading Kuzma.”
Kyle Kuzma has been the most effective player on the Lakers this season besides LeBron James. In 51 games for Los Angeles in 2018-19, Kuzma is averaging 18.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists on 46.3 percent shooting—impressive numbers from the sophomore forward.
In the Lakers’ 143-120 loss to Philadelphia on Sunday, Feb. 10, Kuzma further proved his value as he dropped 39 points on 14-of-21 shooting. During James’ absence through January, Kuzma held down the fort for Los Angeles. The team now stands 28-28, good for 10th place in the Western Conference.