11 NBA Stars Who Shocked Fans By Switching Teams

8. Shaquille O’Neal signs with the Los Angeles Lakers (1996) 

Shaq signs with the Lakers
Getty Images

During his time in Orlando, Shaquille O’Neal became the NBA’s biggest superstar since Michael Jordan. Taking a relatively new franchise to the NBA Finals in just his third season. But after an injury-riddled 1995-1996 season, a variety of factors came into play, which led to O’Neal looking elsewhere when deciding where to continue his NBA career. O’Neal faced intense public scrutiny around whether he was worth a record-breaking $115 million extension from the Orlando Magic, and often felt overwhelmed with the attention he got in the small-market town. In addition, he began to believe the Magic preferred to build their franchise around the team’s other young superstar, Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway. Eventually, O’Neal signed a seven-year, $121 million contract to join the Los Angeles Lakers, where he would win three NBA titles.

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