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Lakers owner Jeanie Buss sheds light on Shaq trade, says Kobe Bryant not to blame

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Lakers owner Jeanie Buss sheds light on Shaq trade, says Kobe Bryant not to blame

Money talks.

Shaquille O’Neal was traded to the Heat before the 2004-05 season, ending his run in Los Angeles alongside Kobe Bryant and breaking up one of the most dominant duos in Association history.

While many pointed to Bryant’s growing dissatisfaction with Shaq as a teammate, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss says that Bryant shouldn’t bear the blame for breaking up the two sides. 

MORE: Heat are “concerned” with Tyler Herro’s personal life

Speaking on the “All the Smoke” podcast with Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes, Buss explained that money was ultimately the decider in moving the All-NBA center. 

“Shaq was in a contract year. … Because of the way the collective bargaining agreement was structured, there were some players that were grandfathered in in the new agreement, that you were able to pay them more than the current players, so Shaq was one of those grandfathered players,” Buss said.

“He wanted an amount of money that was legal under the CBA but it wasn’t what my dad wanted to pay him. And so, it came to the point where the decision was made to trade Shaq. And a lot of people want to put that blame on Kobe. It wasn’t. It was purely a money situation.”

Buss said that the two sides were far, far apart on contract extension talks at the time.

After contract negotiations between both sides fell through, O’Neal was traded to the Heat, where he would play two dominant seasons, winning the 2006 NBA Finals alongside Dwayne Wade, before entering the twilight of his career in a trade to Phoenix in 2007. He would sign a five-year, $100 million pact with the Heat upon arrival.

Bryant and the Lakers wouldn’t win another championship until 2009, the first of two alongside Pau Gasol.

Shaq and Kobe would maintain a well-documented icy relationship throughout their career, but would make amends later on, with both sides sharing a mutual respect for one another.

Oh, what could have been.

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Twitter reacts to Russell Westbrook’s NBA-record 182nd career triple-double

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Twitter reacts to Russell Westbrook's NBA-record 182nd career triple-double

Russell Westbrook made history Monday night, notching his 182nd career triple-double — and moving past Oscar Robertson for the all-time NBA record.

Robertson’s record lasted 47 years, from 1974 through Monday night when a fourth-quarter rebound in front of a reduced-capacity crowd in Atlanta gave Westbrook sole possession of the record. It took him 12 years to surpass Robertson’s record after he achieved his first triple-double (17 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds) in 2009 as a rookie with the Thunder.

MORE: Jaylen Brown injury update: Celtics star out for rest of season with torn wrist ligament

Monday’s triple-double was Westbrook’s 36th of the year. That insane output is helping him average, for the fourth time in his career, a triple-double over the course of the season. The previous such campaigns came in 2016-17 through 2018-19.

Westbrook finished with 28 points, 21 assists and 13 rebounds in the Wizards’ 125-124 loss to the Hawks; the loss dropped Washington to 32-37 on the season, but the team still ranks 10th in the Eastern Conference standings. The Wizards’ playoff hopes pale in comparison to the history Westbrook made, however.

He even made sure to get the game ball from officials so he could be certain to commemorate the historic achievement.

Here are some of the best reactions to Westbrook’s history-making feat:

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Kenny Mayne’s ESPN cover letter was perfect precursor to his incredible career

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Kenny Mayne's ESPN cover letter was perfect precursor to his incredible career

ESPN’s Kenny Mayne, one of the most recognizable talents in sports broadcasting, is leaving the network, he announced on Monday.

The 27-year ESPN anchor broke the news on Twitter, describing his exit from the worldwide leader in sports as a “salary cap casualty.” Naturally, he could only include some of the dry humor that helped him become a beloved presence in the studio and on millions of sports fans’ TVs.

MORE: ESPN anchors get emotional over laid-off co-workers: ‘We are all hurting’

The longtime “SportsCenter” host’s final day will be on May 24, bringing to an end a 27-year stint at ESPN that began in 1994. His absence will undoubtedly be noted among fans who appreciated his humor and presence in ESPN’s studios — but his Monday announcement is as good a reason as any to remember the incredible cover letter that first landed him the gig in 1994.

Mayne sent a short and sweet cover letter to ESPN’s John Walsh in 1994, offering him three checkboxes in the former’s bid to land a job with ESPN:

Unsurprisingly, Mayne made Walsh smile. Walsh wouldn’t be the last person to smile at Mayne’s humor and creativity.

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Jaylen Brown injury update: Celtics star out for rest of season with torn wrist ligament

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Jaylen Brown injury update: Celtics star out for rest of season with torn wrist ligament

The Celtics will have to fight for a playoff spot without one of their most important players.

Boston announced Monday night that All-Star forward Jaylen Brown has suffered a torn scapholunate ligament in his left wrist and will miss the rest of the 2020-21 season. He is expected to undergo surgery later this week.

MORE: Will LeBron James return vs. Knicks?

The Celtics offered no specific timetable for Brown’s return to the court, but as The Athletic’s Jared Weiss noted, Boston guard Romeo Langford suffered the same injury last year and took about six months to recover. If Brown stays roughly on that timeline, he should be available to rejoin the lineup for the start of the 2021-22 campaign.

Brown dealt with injury and COVID-19 issues throughout the season, but the 24-year-old still managed to earn his first All-Star selection with some of the best individual numbers of his career. He averaged a career-high 24.7 points per game while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from 3-point range.

Without Brown available, Boston will rely heavily on Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker to produce offensively. The Celtics will also need more from trade deadline acquisition Evan Fournier, who most recently scored 30 points in a loss to the Heat on Sunday — his highest scoring output since joining the team.

Even if other players step up in Brown’s absence, the Celtics, currently the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference standings, are unlikely to make a deep run in the 2021 NBA playoffs. They would face an uphill battle in a potential first-round series against the 76ers, Nets or Bucks, the top three seeds in the Eastern Conference.

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