Howard focusing on happy times he spent in Orlando

Dwight Howard is only thinking about the happy times he spent

with the Magic as has he prepares to return to Orlando for the

first time since his drama-filled offseason departure.

The Los Angeles Lakers center upset Magic fans and some of his

former teammates last week when he appeared to criticize them

during a television interview. He said after the Lakers morning

shoot around that he’s ready to move beyond that and the

circumstances surrounding his trade this past summer.

”All that stuff is over with now. Today is a new day,” he

said. ”Whatever happened in the past, I’m gonna leave it behind

me. Like I said, I have nothing but love for the fans here. They

treated me well. It didn’t end right, it didn’t end the way we all

wanted it to end. But I’m in a better place, and everybody has to

move on.”

The Magic host Los Angeles Tuesday night in a game that the

Lakers need to stay in position to make the Western Conference

playoffs.

Howard said he’s reached out to former Magic teammate Jameer

Nelson to clarify his comments from the television interview, but

that they have yet to speak.

Asked about the current state of their friendship, Nelson

indicated Tuesday that it is a work in progress.

”You make friends in the course of your life, that’s on the

court and off the court, and some of them stick in your life and

some of them don’t,” Nelson said. ”We still have a lot of life to

live and hopefully we can be friends after basketball.”

Nelson said that he told Dwight from the beginning of his stay

or go drama last season to make a decision for himself and his

family and that ”whatever decision it was to stick with it and

move forward, and I always wished him the best.”

Howard said he doesn’t know what kind of reception he’ll get

Tuesday from the Amway Center crowd.

But he said his message to them, though, is clear.

”I came here a boy and I left a man and it made me a better

person,” Howard said. ”Thanks to the people that supported me,

even throughout the bad times.”

Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at

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