Shaq on Howard: It was safe move to ‘little town’

Shaquille O’Neal is never afraid to speak his mind.

After Dwight Howard announced on Friday he was leaving the Lakers for Houston, O’Neal threw an elbow in the direction of the center one day later.

“It was expected,” said O’Neal, speaking at Daytona International Speedway, of Howard leaving LA. “We’ve all been in L.A., 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.”

O’Neal, who had his jersey retired by the Lakers earlier in the year, paired with Kobe Bryant for a trio of NBA titles from 2000 to 2002.

Howard decided to leave up to $30 million on the table and play for Houston rather than return to Los Angeles.