Shaquille O’Neal says the Los Angeles spotlight was too bright for Dwight Howard.
Speaking at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Shaq hammered his former colleague as if they were battling in the post.
O’Neal opened his mouth agape when asked about Howard, who chose to leave the Lakers for the Houston Rockets late Friday, and joked about cheering on Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick in Saturday’s race.
A few seconds later, he threw an elbow Howard’s way.
“It was expected,” Shaq 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.”
Blazers, Wright agree
The Portland Trail Blazers agreed to a contract with free agent small forward Dorell Wright, who played last season with the Philadelphia 76ers, a person close to the negotiations said Saturday.
Wright, a nine-year NBA veteran, averaged 9.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists off the bench for the Sixers last season. He was traded to Philadelphia from Golden State last July.
Wright, a 6-foot-9 wing, confirmed the deal on Twitter, simply proclaiming “#ripcity.” Then he thanked the 76ers, their fans and his teammates.
Hawks replace Josh Smith
The Atlanta Hawks agreed to contracts with free-agent forwards Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll, continuing their makeover under General Manager Danny Ferry.
Two people close to the negotiations confirmed the deals for Millsap and Carroll, who were teammates on the Utah Jazz last season.
The addition of Millsap and Carroll will help make up for the loss of Josh Smith, who has agreed to a $54 million, four-year contract with the Detroit Pistons, according to a person familiar with the deal.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been announced.
Smith averaged a team-high 17.5 points last season for his hometown Hawks, who drafted him No. 17 overall out of high school in 2004. The 6-foot-9, 225-pound small forward also averaged 8.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.2 steals.
Landry to return to Kings
Carl Landry believes his second stint with the Sacramento Kings will be better — and last longer — than his first time around.
With an aggressive new regime in place, Landry and the Kings agreed to a four-year deal worth at least $26 million on Saturday that will bring the power forward back to California’s capital city.
Landry’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, said that final details of the contract were still being worked out and it could reach $27 million over the life of the deal. He said Landry is excited to return to Sacramento under new owner Vivek Ranadive, who bought the franchise from the Maloof family in May.
Landry played parts of the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons with the Kings.