O’Neal speaks of Kupchak in only six pages of the 281-page “Shaq Uncut: My Story,” co-written by Jackie MacMullan, slated for a Nov. 15 release. But that’s enough prose to label Kupchak as the main culprit behind Shaq’s hasty departure from the Lakers.
According to the book, Kupchak promised to grant Shaq a contract extension following the 2003-04 season and not to discuss their contract negotiations publicly. Once the 2003-04 season ended, however, O’Neal was disturbed by an apparent interview in which Kupchak revealed the Lakers’ plan to hold onto Bryant while keeping their options open with O’Neal.
“That was it. That was the end of me in a Lakers uniform. Mitch broke our agreement. How could I trust him again?” Shaq writes in the book. “For months, I kept waiting for Mitch to come to me and say, ‘Shaq, you’re getting older, we need some new players. Mr. Buss doesn’t want to pay you and Kobe doesn’t want you here.’ But that conversation never happened. So that was when I demanded a trade. I couldn’t trust Mitch anymore and it was clear Kobe was now the one with all the power.”
— Reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times Blog