Good news, bad news, Lakers fans -- Shaquille O'Neal says LeBron James' squad WILL turn things around and make the playoffs this season ... but, bringing home a championship "probably" ain't happening.
TMZ Sports talked to the Big Fella at his "Shaq's Fun House" Super Bowl party on Friday ... and he kept it a buck about the Lake Show's title hopes as they sit near the bottom of the Western Conference standings with a 26-30 record.
"They definitely will make the playoffs," Shaq says ... adding there's always pressure within the Lakers organization to be the best.
"This was one of the hardest franchises I ever had to play for," Shaq says.
"I remember when I came here, Jerry West said, 'Look, I know you do movies, I know you do rap albums and all that,' But, he made me look up [in the rafters] and I seen Wilt [Chamberlain] and Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] and he said, 'At the end of this, you're either going to be a bust or you're going to be a legend.' So, those guys have to decide how they want to be remembered."
Shaq believes the problem is this Lakers team is old and playing like it ... but if they bring the energy for all 48 minutes each game, they'll start to find more success against the younger teams in the league.
Of course, O'Neal knows a thing or two about winning in L.A. -- he helped the Purple and Gold with 3-straight titles from 2000-2002 ... something he paid tribute to during his DJ Diesel set at the party.
The current Lakers seem far from locking in title #18 this year ... and James Worthy recently said his former team is at the "lowest point" he's ever seen.
While Shaq didn't go as far as to say that, he tells us a ring "probably" isn't in the cards for LeBron and Co. in 2022.