Hall of Fame center Shaquille O'Neal says he spent the last few seasons of his career chasing championships.
He doesn't believe LeBron James should do the same thing.
"My problem toward the end of my career was I was trying to shut everybody up and I was greedy [for more championships]," O'Neal said in an interview with ESPN at a pre-draft event on Friday evening for teens from the Y in Brooklyn. "After I got to three [titles], everybody was saying I couldn't get another. So I got four. After I got the fourth, they were saying I couldn't get another one. So I was trying to make quick stops to get it. Phoenix, Cleveland, Boston."
He doesn't think James should try to chase championships at this point in his 15-year career. James can test free agency this summer if he declines the player option on his contract.
"Somebody told me a long time ago -- they said your book is already set [before the later stages of your career]. You can add index pages toward the end, but your book is already set. So LeBron's book is already set," O'Neal said. "He done already passed up legends; he done already made his mark -- he has three rings. His mentality now is probably: I want to get four before [Golden State Warriors guard] Steph [Curry] does. That's probably his mentality now. But if I was him, I wouldn't be trying to get four, five and six because it ain't going to matter. It's just something else to talk about, something else to add to the pages. He's a legend, talked about as who is the best between he and Michael Jordan, so he's set."
James has to inform the Cavs whether he intends to opt out of the final year of his contract with the team by 11:59 p.m. on June 29. Should he opt out and become an unrestricted free agent, Cleveland can outbid any other suitor by offering him a five-year max contract worth approximately $205 million. Other organizations can pitch James starting on July 1, but the Cavs don't have to wait since he is already on their team.
If James' decision hinges on putting himself in the best position to win a title, O'Neal says it will be difficult for James to beat the Warriors.
"Golden State turning themselves into a dynasty is making it hard for other teams to compete, so he's either going to say, 'I want to get four before [the Warriors] get four' and do a quick fix, or Cleveland's going to have to do a lot of phone calls and lot of moves to get him the squad he wants," O'Neal said. "But it's going to be difficult. You have three superstars on one team that actually play the right way. Even with LeBron [on a roster], if you don't play the right way, it doesn't matter."