According to TMZ Sports, Howard brushed off what Shaq wrote about him on Twitter: "It's OK, I'm not here to talk about Shaq. What he said, what he did. It's irrelevant to what I'm trying to do. So, don't talk to me about what anybody else said about me. My focus is on one thing."
Howard was responding to a tweet in which Shaq referenced him during a conversation with Kobe Bryant:
The Lakers officially signed Howard to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal this week to replace the injured DeMarcus Cousins, who is expected to miss the entire 2019-20 season with a torn ACL.
Shaq's response to Kobe came after Bryant recently said in an interview with Valuetainment he "would've had 12 f--king rings" if O'Neal had spent more time training.
The 33-year-old Howard is an eight-time All-Star and three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year with a trip to the NBA Finals on his resume, but he hasn't attained much success since leaving the Orlando Magic in 2012.
Howard was traded to the Lakers in 2012 in an effort to build a superteam that also included Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol. The move failed spectacularly, as the Lakers went just 45-37 and were swept in the first round of the playoffs.
If he manages to play an important role on a winning Lakers team in 2019-20, it could go a long way toward redeeming what happened seven years ago, while also lending some credibility to Howard's post-Magic career.
Howard and O'Neal have been at odds for years, and while it isn't entirely clear why, the fact that Howard is a heralded big man who played for the Magic and Lakers may have something to do with it.
Like Shaq, Howard has been somewhat nomadic in the latter part of his career in hopes of being a specialized contributor and playing for a winning team.
Howard finally has a chance to do the latter in L.A., and he can ill afford to let the outside noise distract him since his contract has no safety net and can be terminated at any time if he doesn't prove to be a strong fit alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Co.