Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Shaq: L.A. too much for Howard

Shaquille O'Neal says the Los Angeles spotlight was too bright for Dwight Howard.

Speaking at Daytona International Speedway, where he was grand marshal for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race, O'Neal hammered his former colleague.

O'Neal opened his mouth agape when asked about Howard, who chose to leave the Lakers for the Rockets late Friday.

"It was expected," O'Neal said. "We've all been in LA, and not a whole lot of people can handle being under the bright lights. Everybody wants to do it, but when you get there, there are certain pressures. I think it was a safe move for him to go to a little town like Houston. That's right, little town. I said it."

Howard never grew comfortable playing with Lakers star Kobe Bryant and for coach Mike D'Antoni.

Once a smiling, fun-loving big guy, Howard lacked that joy in Los Angeles. The Rockets are confident the center will find it again in Houston.

"We're going to get a smile back on his face that hasn't been on it for a couple of years because of various things, injury and maybe the team situation he was in at the time," Houston GM Daryl Morey told Comcast SportsNet Houston.

Howard agreed to a four-year, $88 million maximum contract that will include an early termination option after the 2015-16 season and a 15 percent trade kicker, Yahoo Sports reported — and passed on perhaps $30 million more that the Lakers could have offered to retain him. The deal can't be signed until Wednesday, according to league rules.

Houston now suddenly looks primed to contend after being knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. "We haven't accomplished anything yet, but we're putting something pretty cool together, I think," Morey said.

Houston also agreed with Cavaliers swingman Omri Casspi on a two-year, $2.6 million deal, Yahoo Sports reported.

After playing his first eight seasons for the Magic, Howard, 27, was a big story last summer as he took months to decide on his exit from Orlando and his next destination.

But his lone season in Los Angeles was filled with unrest, including what many believed to be a less than positive relationship with Bryant, who unfollowed Howard on Twitter on Friday after the center announced his decision to join the Rockets with a tweet.

Pistons get Hawks' Smith: The Pistons nabbed one of the top free agents available, getting Atlanta's Josh Smith for a $54 million, four-year deal, the Associated Press reported. The small forward scored a team-high 17.5 points and averaged 8.4 rebounds last season. They also acquired forwards Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll, both with the Jazz last season.

More moves: The Cavs and free agent guard Jarrett Jack agreed to a four-year, $25 million deal, the AP reported. … Forward Carl Landry and the Kings agreed to a four-year, $26 million deal. … Unrestricted free agent guard Dorell Wright of the 76ers reached a deal with the Blazers for two years, $6 million. … The Mavs will sign Hawks guard Devin Harris for $9 million over three years, espn.com reported. They also will sign point guard Jose Calderon, 31, to a $29 million, four-year deal, espn.com said. … The Clippers agreed to two-year deal with former Mavs point guard Darren Collison.

Shaq: L.A. too much for Howard 07/06/13 [Last modified: Sunday, July 7, 2013 12:12am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  2. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated

    Footballpreps

    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Vernon Hargreaves needs to improve

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs now rank 31st in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 301 yards per game in their 2-3 start, and coach Dirk Koetter was asked Monday how concerned he is with the play of second-year CB Vernon Hargreaves.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, throwing an incompletion under pressure after replacing injured Jameis Winston against the Cardinals,  would start this Sunday in Buffalo if Winston’s shoulder is still bothering him.
  4. Backhand shot makes Nikita Kucherov's offense even more dangerous

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — Nikita Kucherov is on a historic streak, just the fourth player in the past 30 years to score a goal in each of his first six games.

    Nikita Kucherov’s backhand shot adds to his strong scoring.
  5. Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville amid federal corruption probe

    College

    In an expected move, the University of Louisville Athletic Association's Board of Directors on Monday voted unanimously to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. The decision came 19 days after Louisville acknowledged that its men's basketball program was being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe and …

    In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville's Athletic Association on Monday officially fired Pitino, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that its men's basketball program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File]