|ESPN.com: NBA||[Print without images]|
“"My dad is a grown man. If that's how he feels, then we'll leave it at that. I'm not going to get into it." Howard Sr. told the Atlanta Journal Constitution he was disappointed with the way Bryant publicly criticized his son, and that D'Antoni didn't do anything to curtail it. "The problem is the coach," Howard Sr. told the newspaper. "(D'Antoni) needs to step in and say, 'You guys have got to be quiet. We're trying to secure something here.' Dwight is probably looking at the coach, thinking, 'What are you going to do?' I promise, if that had been (former Magic coach) Stan Van Gundy, that wouldn't have happened. (Howard) wouldn't have been admonished publicly. I think the coach has a lot to do with who controls Kobe's mouth right now." There was no more controversial words coming from Bryant on Saturday. "Honestly, I'm done talking about it," Bryant said. "There's nothing to talk about. I'm done with it. There's nothing to discuss. It's silly." Before the Lakers played the Boston Celtics on Thursday, Howard lashed out at comments Bryant made to ESPNBoston.com's Jackie MacMullan regarding Howard's ailing right shoulder. Bryant told ESPNBoston.com, "We don't have time for [Howard's shoulder] to heal. ... We need some urgency." Howard responded by saying of Bryant, "He's not a doctor." Bryant has repeatedly expressed since the interview with MacMullan that he did not intend for his comments to be construed as an attack at Howard, saying Saturday that it was "just making a big deal out of something that's really nothing." "All year people have been trying to hang on to stuff," Bryant said of the media interest in the dynamic between him and Howard. "He's just got to go do his job, man. Just rebound, defend and we do our jobs and [fulfill] our roles on what we have to do to help us win. It's not rocket science." D'Antoni said, "We're good," when asked about the state of things between him and the two Lakers' All-Stars, and shrugged off the comments made by Howard's father. "That's cool," D'Antoni said. "He should, he's the father, he should defend his son. But I thought we had that [meeting] in Memphis. Maybe we have to do it again." Howard said he speaks to his dad frequently, but not about the inner-workings of the Lakers. "We talk life," Howard said. One aspect of his life Howard did not want to address was where he'll be making his home next season. Howard's father told the Journal Constitution that he expects his son to re-sign with the Lakers. Does father know best when it comes to Howard's free agency plans? "I'm not getting into it," Howard said. He was asked if he appreciated hearing his dad chime in from afar, adding to the national Lakers conversation from his hometown of Atlanta. "That's what he's supposed to do, support his kid, and he's going to do the best job he can at it," Howard said. While the Lakers have struggled through a 24-27 start to their season, Howard has sought counsel not only from his father, but surprisingly from Van Gundy as well. "Me and Stan, we talk," Howard said of his former coach from 2007-12, whom he reportedly wanted fired in Orlando. "We actually talked this week. He needed some help (with a charitable cause), he asked for my support, and I was there for him. Despite everything that happened, or whatever, we're still good friends." Meanwhile, Van Gundy's brother, ESPN/ABC NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy, has been very critical of Howard, saying in a recent broadcast between the Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder that the big man has been "waffling constantly on everything." That hasn't hurt things between Howard and his former coach, apparently. "We understand that one part is business and the other part is a lot of things that happened in the media that we can't control things that people may say that we probably don't feel that way about each other but everybody else thinks that that's how we feel," Howard said. "But, we respect each other. We've had great years together and we did some great things together. So, our level of respect will always be there." Even with all the talk both in the press and out of it and injuries to Howard's shoulder and Pau Gasol's right foot, the Lakers have a chance to finish their seven-game road trip with a 5-2 record if they beat the Miami Heat on Sunday. "We can only control what we do [Sunday], and if we come out and play well and get a good win, then we can go back home and say we did a good job on this road trip," Howard said.
I'm not going to get into it. My dad is a grown man. If that's how he feels, then we'll leave it at that. I'm not going to get into it.” -- Dwight Howard