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Shaq says he won’t come out of retirement to play with LeBron James but that he heard Kobe Bryant will

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Shaq is probably joking when he says Kobe Bryant is going to suit up with LeBron James on the Lakers next year, but who knows?

Los Angeles Lakers Unveil Shaquille O’Neal Statue Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With LeBron James, arguably the greatest player of all time, joining a Los Angeles Lakers roster featuring young up-and-comers like Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma as well as well-known (for various reasons) veterans like Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Michael Beasley, it might be hard to picture the Lakers getting any more star power this season.

But in an interview with TMZ, Shaquille O’Neal said it’s possible. While O’Neal said he wouldn’t consider coming back, he did say he’s heard a former teammate might be:

“No man, no I’m not (coming out of retirement to play with LeBron) ... Kobe’s coming back I heard. Kobe is coming back, you heard it here first.”

Now, you can watch the video below, but given Shaq’s past antics, it seems like he was probably kidding, and was laughing internally at Kobe annoyedly having to refute these rumors:

However, while there is like a 0.0000001 percent chance the Big Aristotle isn’t just messing with us and Kobe, can you imagine if this actually happened? Reporters would outnumber fans at games, Kobe and LeBron stans would have to truly form a lasting truce and start painting murals that inspire the rest of the globe to achieve world peace, and Nike could bring back the MVPuppets. This is truly the brightest timeline.

That is probably not what’s going to happen, but it would be hilarious to see if Shaq and Kobe could still summon some magic against bench units in 2018. Hell, at that point, let’s see if they can summon actual Magic, as in Johnson, to come down and lead a unit I’m now calling “The Expendables” for eight minutes a night. Let’s go get Kareem too, because I’m not convinced he couldn’t still get a few buckets with that skyhook.

Shaq may have been kidding, but this is an amazing idea I plan to spend the rest of my day thinking about. Isn’t that what makes the offseason fun, anyway?

You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.