Isiah Thomas Reveals Kobe Bryant's Desire to Win Without Shaquille O'Neal Led Him to Take a Significant Pay Cut

Isiah Thomas recently appeared on the "All The Smoke" podcast and shared an interesting story about Kobe Bryant's desire to win without Shaquille O'Neal.

Thomas claimed that Bryant was so desperate to win without O'Neal that he was willing to take a significant pay cut.

In December 2003, Bryant flew to New York to meet with Thomas and discuss signing with the Knicks.

The Knicks only had the mid-level exception to offer Bryant, which was worth less than $5 million per season.

Despite his high value, Bryant did not care about the money and only wanted to win without O'Neal.

Bryant believed that if he won with O'Neal, he would not be able to rise the way he wanted to.

Ultimately, Bryant did not sign with the Knicks and O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat after the 2003-04 season.

O'Neal went on to win the championship in 2006 with the Heat.

Bryant continued his career with the Lakers and went on to win two more championships without O'Neal.