After spending eight seasons in Orlando, Howard took some time to reflect on his experience and how he left the Magic.
“I’ve had a chance to sit back and think about it, and there are some things I could’ve done better,” Howard said, according to ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne. “There are some things that could’ve been done better on both sides. But at the end of the day, we all learn some lessons, and we’ve got to move forward.”
The center left Orlando looking to play for a contender. After a disappointing start to the season and the firing of coach Mike Brown, it looked like maybe Howard should have stayed with the Magic. But Howard says both sides are better because of the trade.
“There are a lot of things we both could’ve done, but at the end of the day, it happened just the way it was supposed to happen,” Howard said. “There was a reason behind everything. We might not see it or understand it at the time, but there was a reason why everything happened the way it happened, and I think it made both parties stronger.”
The Howard trade left the Magic with a roster that is headlined by Aaron Afflalo, Jameer Nelson and Glen Davis, so fans in Orlando probably don’t agree with the big man’s sentiments.
While the Magic look toward rebuilding without Howard, the Lakers’ center is looking toward signing a long-term deal after the season. And it looks like he will be staying in Los Angeles. He was asked about the chances of signing a new deal this week.
“From one to 10? I’d give it a good 12. I love it. It’s been a lot of fun,” Howard said. “Just everything here, from the practices, the motivation of everybody here is championship. That’s what we need. I like the direction we’re headed. We’ve had some tough losses, but we’ll learn and we’ll grow from it. We’re going to stick together.”
The NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement allows Howard to sign either a five-year deal with another team or a six-year deal with the Lakers.
Howard and the not-so-unstoppable Lakers will welcome the Magic into Staples Center on Sunday with an 8-8 record and an offensive identity that has yet to be found.