Shaquille O’Neal readily admits he’s done the same thing Kevin Durant is doing right now.
It’s for that reason he has some advice for the disgruntled star.
Durant still wants the Brooklyn Nets to trade him, reportedly giving them an ultimatum to choose him or the combo of head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks.
For all intents and purposes, Durant has nearly as much power as Marks, and you could argue maybe even more than Nash. The team has been built around Durant, so he’s at least somewhat complicit in whatever toxicity surrounds the Nets.
O’Neal played for some prominent coaches and general managers during his career. And on “The Big Podcast with Shaq”, he said Durant might be well-advised to consider if he’s the problem.
“I learned from playing with Phil Jackson, it’s not about the coach, it’s not about the general manager,” O’Neal said. “Especially when they give you all the power and all the control, it’s about you, right? The guy that gets all the shots and all the plays, how can you have a problem with the coach? Think about that.
“You get all the balls, everything is built around you, all the plays are built around you, how can you have a problem with the coach? How? Think about that. I used to be like that, and then Phil Jackson said ‘No, man. I’m just here to maintain order, but you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to do it. It ain’t got nothing to do with me.’
“Sometimes you’ve got to look in the mirror,” O’Neal said. “You’re a great player … but how can you be upset with the coach and general manager when everything is built around you?”
That very well might be the thinking of Nets owner Joe Tsai, who shortly after the report came down gave a vote of confidence to Marks and Nash. Durant wanted all of this and is under contract, the onus now is on him to make it work.
At this point, the absurdity of Brooklyn’s asks in trade conversations involving Durant means a team would have to get stupid in order to actually land him. Perhaps that’s by design, and in effect the Nets’ way of telling Durant that he’s going to have to help clean up the mess he helped start.