If you're ready for Dwight Howard's popularity to take yet another dip, the Los Angeles Lakers center dished on his former Orlando Magic teammates, his differences with Kobe Bryant, and refused to discuss the possibility of staying in Los Angeles beyond this upcoming offseason.
Howard sat down with Kristine Leahy of Los Angeles CBS affiliate KCAL, who asked the much maligned All-Star about his dismal season with the Lakers. Howard didn't really speak candidly, but still managed to give some interesting answers.
When asked about his less-than-sunny on-court demeanor, Howard took the opportunity to bash his ex-team, the Orlando Magic:
"I always say, hey, my team in Orlando was a team full of people nobody wanted, and I was the leader. I led that team with a smile on my face."
That's adding insult to injury. He'd already burned a few bridges with longtime teammates like Jameer Nelson after forcing his way out of Orlando this past offseason, and calling those guys "people nobody wanted" isn't going to go over well with anybody.
On his relationship with Kobe:
"Do I care about winning? That's the only thing I care about. We have two different ways of showing it"
And a purported locker room scuffle:
"Kobe never called me out. None of that stuff happened. People are always going to lie and make stuff up. What I know is that we have stuff that happens in the locker room that stays in the locker room. I would never repeat what happens in the locker room. "
Everything happens for a reason, so the good, the bad, the ugly with whatever people say. A lot of things that come out in media, they're not even true. We've never, ever come to fists. never shouted at each other.""
Leahy confronted Howard about his upcoming free agency, specifically a new Adidas commercial that has Howard proclaim he's "all in" for LA. He was very non-committal about anything besides the fact that he would pursue his free agency:
I'm all in. I'm here now, and what I want to do is win a championship. That's my goal for this season.
Note no reference to anything beyond this year. And more:
It's my choice. That's what free agency is. You have the opportunity to decide what you want to do with your career.
The "too long; didn't read" version: Howard didn't get into a fight with Kobe, even though they disagree about stuff, but if they did he would never tell us, he's dedicated to LA and winning is the most important thing, but also free agency means he has to do what's right for him so he might leave LA, and also all his teammates in Orlando were undesirables. Great!