EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- In late December 2011, Deron Williams and Dwight Howard had dinner in Orlando. They were good friends at that time, possibly contemplating their future playing together on the same team.
Williams needed a big man to complement him, and Howard was the perfect complement. It seemed like a formality then, a matter of when.
But despite all the talk, all the rumors, all the speculation, it never happened.
And now, a day before D-Will's Nets take on D12's Lakers at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the two are no longer as close as they once were.
"Not really," Williams said Monday. "We haven't talked as much as we had before everything went on. I don't know what the reason is."
If Howard ends up playing Tuesday night -- he missed the past two games with a shoulder injury -- D-Will's thoughts certainly won't be on what might have been had Howard not given up his early termination option last season in Orlando, which ultimately squashed their chances of forming a dream duo in Brooklyn.
"We're happy with Brook (Lopez) and the team we have now. It's not shoulda-coulda-woulda," Williams said.
In November, Howard, who ultimately admitted he did want to play in Brooklyn, said he didn't feel the need to smooth things over with Williams.
"It's my life, so if he's upset because I made a decision for me, so be it," Howard said. "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.
"I'm here now in L.A. 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 and to this team.
"It really doesn't matter at this point [why I demanded a trade to Brooklyn]. 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."