New Lakers center Dwight Howard responded to Lakers icon Shaquille O’Neal on Thursday, one week after O’Neal put him behind former Lakers center Andrew Bynum and Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez in his center rankings.
“I don’t care what Shaq says,” Howard told reporters after practice Wednesday, according to The Los Angeles Times.”Shaq played the game and he is done. It’s time to move on. He hated the fact when he played that older guys were talking about him and how he played. Now he’s doing the exact same thing. Just let it go. There’s no sense for him to be talking trash to me. He did his thing in the league. Sit back and relax. Your time is up.”
Howard is meshing well with his new team after a rather tumultuous offseason full of trade rumors before he finally was shipped from Orlando to Los Angeles.
But he’s not on good terms with one of the franchise’s former stars, as O’Neal last week placed him below Bynum and Lopez in his pseudo power rankings of centers.
“I’m not talking about dunking, I’m talking about playing like a big man with moves,” O’Neal, who is now an analyst on TNT, told NBA.com. “My man [Lopez], before he had the foot injury, was putting up nice, solid big-man numbers. He don’t have a lot of flash, a la Tim Duncan, but he can play. If you put him with a nice team around him, you can get a lot from this big man. Like if you want to go to flash and dunking and the pick and roll, you gotta go with Dwight Howard. But me, the last true original dun duda, I’m going with Andrew Bynum and [Lopez].”
Here’s where things could get awkward: The Lakers are set to retire O’Neal’s jersey in an April 2 ceremony. But when asked if he needed to “get on the same page” with O’Neal before then, Howard shot back with an incredulous-sounding question.
“What do we need to be on the same page for?” Howard said. “I have respect for him and what he did for basketball. That’s it. When my time is up, there’s going to be somebody else who can do everything I can do and probably do it better. Instead of me talking about him, I’ll do my job to try to help him get where I’m at. I think that’s what guys who have done it before us should do.”