Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant responded to NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal's criticism of Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert's contract. Shaq is one of the most recognizable figures in modern sports today. His dominance on the basketball court, paired with his incredible talent, allowed him to earn and make a living as an NBA superstar.
The four-time champion expressed how frustrated he is with the way some of the players today get paid. Coming into the 2022-23 NBA season, Gobert is set to make $38 million. Back in 2020, Gobert signed a massive contract extension worth $205 million for five years. It's the largest deal for a center in the NBA.
Shaq was never a fan of Gobert, even before he got the deal. Now that he's set to make more money than the Los Angeles Lakers' legend, Shaq had to share his thoughts on the matter.
"You think I'm happy Rudy Gobert's making 250 [million]?
"God d*mn right we get mad, we get petty." O'Neal added. "I think it's a little bit of truth in our criticism."
Kevin Durant, the fourth highest paid player in the upcoming season, commented on Shaq's criticism.
"Shaquille is hilarious." Durant tweeted. " You’re a billionaire bro lol"
Shaq didn't let this one slide and decided to add fuel to the fire by replying to Durant's tweet.
"I know i'm hillarious, and i'm not a billionaire i'm actually broke." Shaq replied to Durant's tweet.
The difference between players' salary today and Shaquille O'Neal's playing days is significant
Younger NBA fans might not know the amount of money players used to earn. Shaquille O'Neal was one of the best to ever do it back. For instance, he won four NBA titles, three Finals MVP awards and a regular season MVP. O'Neal's resume is filled with individual and team accolades.
You might think that he probably earned a similar amount as LeBron James or Stephen Curry. But he didn't. Throughout his 19-year career, O'Neal only earned around $300 million. This figure is similar to the amount of Gobert's five-year contract extension, $205 million.
Shaquille O'Neal changed the game of basketball as we know it, and the most he made in a season was $27 million.
Does Gobert deserve a massive contract extension? That depends on how you look at it.
The Jazz are a small-market team, and they don't get a chance to attract stars like Gobert during free agency. So, the logical move for them is to reward their players with massive contracts to encourage them to stay. Even if Gobert isn't as skilled or talented as Shaq, the Utah Jazz wanted to secure a star in Gobert that would allow them to compete in the tough Western Conference.