Shaq says Buss making excuses for siding with Kobe

Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal thinks Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss is making excuses for taking Kobe Bryant's side when the players were feuding as teammates with the Lakers.

O'Neal was responding to Buss' recent comments in the Los Angeles Times that trading O'Neal to Miami was the correct decision. O'Neal said Buss isn't an "honest businessman" because he won't state the real reasons behind the deal.

"Everybody knows what that is really about," O'Neal told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "He had to make a choice, the young guy [Bryant] or the old guy. He made his choice, and good luck with his choice."

Buss told the Times last week he would make the same decision "100 out of 100 times. To me, the risk-reward ratio wasn't there.

"It was not only a question of whether the man was going to be in shape, but what were his true salary demands going to be."

O'Neal responded in the Sun-Sentinel: "How many years was Phil there? And how many years we went to the Finals? ... And how many points did I average and how many times was I the MVP?"

The Lakers went to the Finals four times in Jackson's five seasons coaching Bryant and O'Neal in Los Angeles, winning three titles. O'Neal was voted the Finals MVP in 2000, 2001 and 2002 after averaging 38, 33 and 36.3 points, respectively.

"Obviously, do all the math and ... everybody knows what that [trade] is really about," O'Neal said.

O'Neal also said Buss lied when he says he tried to contact O'Neal to explain his reasons for the trade. O'Neal said he has no desire to speak with Buss.

Still, O'Neal told the Sun-Sentinel: "I don't take it personally. I haven't said nothing this year, but I am not going to let someone say something about me and then not come back."