It's in the past, so Dwight Howard doesn't want to talk about it. On Thursday, Howard faces his former team as his Houston Rockets host the Los Angeles Lakers. But don't ask Howard about his experience from a year ago. Name all the ways Howard can try to change the topic, and he's done it in the last few days.
"I made my decision," Howard told Yahoo!'s Marc J. Spears. "I'm happy where I'm at. Everybody should move forward. This is my life. If you don't like it, so what."
"It's not a reunion game," Howard told USA Today Sports on Tuesday. "What's the reunion? I think people are making a big deal out of the whole situation."
"I don't think there's any need for me to continue talking about the Lakers and what happened. I've done enough talking," he added, according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports.
Yet, it isn't easy to forget last season. It's not a simple case of a player deciding to leave team for another. And it's not only a storyline of fluff coming from the mouths of Lakers fans who feel spurned. As Spears reported, it's well-known that Howard didn't get along with Kobe Bryant -- even if Bryant, Steve Nash and coach Mike D'Antoni were the core group of Lakers courting Howard during his free agency last summer.
"Dwight and Kobe just didn't get along," said former Lakers forward Antawn Jamison. "There was no definite reason as to why they didn't get along. They were just two different personalities that couldn't co-exist."
Even though D'Antoni and big man Pau Gasol had their differences last year, they talked it out. The Lakers head coach has not been the most appreciative of Howard since the center left for Houston. D'Antoni put his name behind Gasol in an interview with USA Today earlier this year, saying the season with Howard was nothing but a recruiting pitch and taking somewhat veiled hits about Howard being utilized the same way in Houston as he would've been in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is off to a 2-3 start to the season with Gasol acting as the team's backbone. Meanwhile, Houston finds itself 4-1 and rolling behind Howard, who is healthy for the first time in a year and as such is averaging 17.4 points and 14.6 rebounds per game.
"I respect you guys but it's not about last year anymore," Howard said Thursday, according to the Houston Chronicle's Jenny Dial Creech.
So maybe Howard doesn't want to talk about it, but Bryant, D'Antoni and the Lakers likely have some lingering feelings.