Shaq gives stern warning on what could happen if Lakers are eliminated

The Lakers legend shared his thoughts on what could be in store for the organization should LA be knocked out of the playoffs.
Shaquille O'Neal
Shaquille O'Neal / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Down 0-2 in the first round of the playoffs to the defending champions, the Los Angeles Lakers once again find themselves in a difficult situation. After finally gaining an edge on Denver for much of Game 2, LA shrunk down the stretch and allowed the Nuggets to dominate in the clutch yet again.

A lot of fingers have been pointed as a result of the Lakers' most recent loss, and we can see that it was a collective failure that falls on the shoulders of everyone in the locker room. But in particular, Darvin Ham's coaching mistakes are one aspect of the Lakers' shortcomings that has been reiterated time and again.

One former Lakers legend, Shaquille O'Neal, recently weighed in on this topic and gave his opinion on the state of the organization. Appearing on 'The Big Podcast with Shaq,' he was asked if he thinks Ham will be more of a long-term fixture in LA's locker room, or if he thinks they could move on from him in the near future.

After making it clear that he does not like speaking on coaches because he does not know for certain, Shaq stated that he does know for a fact that changes will be made if the Lakers lose and are eliminated from the playoffs.

Shaq: "If the Lakers lose, changes will be made"

The evidence Shaq gave for his statement was that he knows this is simply how the Lakers do business. "That's just the way they operate," he said. "That's a storied franchise, historical franchise, and we're used to winning. We're all about winning. Ever since that bubble championship it's been up and down, so changes will definitely be made."

These are big words from someone whose history is so intertwined with the history of the Lakers, and who of course still has plenty of connections within the organization. Now, Shaq did not explicitly state that the changes he is speaking of would involve LA moving on from Darvin Ham, but that is certainly what he seems to be hinting at.

One thing is for sure: Shaq's words are very blunt and he leaves no room for doubt about what direction the franchise will take if they find themselves sitting at home in a few days once again. The team that is tied for the most NBA championships in league history will not sit around comfortable with just another playoff appearance, and that should be reassuring to fans.

If the Lakers are indeed eliminated, the manner in which they bow out could play a part in what changes take place as well. Another sweep at the hands of the Nuggets would almost certainly force management's hand to make more drastic moves.