Dwight Howard has no regrets about spurning Nets
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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- If Deron Williams is awaiting a call from Dwight Howard to smooth things over after the way things went down eight months ago, he probably shouldn't hold his breath.
He might turn Lakers purple.
Howard hasn't spoken at length with the Nets' All-Star point guard since he decided to waive his contract's early termination option in March, basically turning his back on the Nets. The franchise had been in pursuit of Howard for two seasons, knowing Brooklyn was his preferred destination, but Howard reversed course and flip-flopped again in the summer before the Magic had enough and shipped him to the West Coast.
But if Williams is still ticked, Howard doesn't worry about it.
"That's my decision," Howard said following practice as the Lakers (5-5) prepared to meet the Nets (6-2) at Staples Center Tuesday night. "It's my life, so if he's upset because I made a decision for me, so be it. If he doesn't want to be friends because I'm on another team, then so be it. There's no need to smooth things over, you know?"
Howard said recently that starting something new in Brooklyn really appealed to him at one time. However, he wasn't too keen on strolling down memory lane.
"I'm here now in L.A.," Howard said. "There's no need to talk about what could have happened. I'm happy with being here in L.A. The fans have always been great here. Now that I'm on the team, the fans, from day one, they've just been unbelievable to me, to this team."
So Howard has put Brooklyn in the rearview mirror -- for now. Next summer, he's still expected to opt out of the final year of his deal, making him a free agent. For the present, though, the subject of Brooklyn has become irrelevant.
"It really doesn't matter at this point," he said. "There's no need to talk about the past. I'm happy being a Laker. This is the best situation for me and what I need to move forward."
That's where Mike D'Antoni comes in. The former Knicks coach, who possibly could make his debut on the Lakers' bench Tuesday night, is known for getting production out of big men, with Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire a recent example.
So when a healthy Steve Nash returns, Howard should flourish in the pick-and-roll. He also has plans of increasing his game repertoire, looking to prove he has skills beyond throwing down monster dunks.
"That's one thing I like about Mike and his brother [Dan]," Howard said. "They've been telling me since day one: 'You are not just a player who can dunk the ball. You can do more things. So don't be afraid to do them. Just believe.'
"So when you have the coaches believing in you as well as the players, that's when you get better and that's what Amar'e did. He took advantage of all the situations and made himself better."
Almost like the Nets did when acquiring Howard no longer was an option.
"They have a pretty good team," Howard said. "They have a great 'four' man, they have a great point guard. Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, they have a pretty good team. They are well coached, so the more time they have together, the better they'll be."