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SANTA BARBARA (CBSLA.com) Kobe Bryant was in Santa Barbara Wednesday at his annual youth camp and was asked why he thought Howard ultimately decided not to return to Los Angeles.
Despite a meeting that included appearances by Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, Howard chose to leave the Lakers for the Houston Rockets.
“I’m happy for him,” Bryant said. “I’ve said that before. I’m happy for him. It’s important for free agents to make decisions that they feel is best for them. That’s really what it’s about, being a free agent. You have to make decisions that you feel is best for you, best for your family and best for your brand, whatever it may be. So, it is what it is.”
Before Howard decided to go to Houston, Lakers executives felt it was important to have Bryant and Nash attend the meeting to help re-sign the big center.
“I really want feeling anything I was just kind of going in there and I really didn’t know what to expect, to be honest with you,” Bryant on the meeting with Howard. “I walk in there and everybody is sitting down and everybody is quiet, I didn’t know what the hell was going on. Everybody was just really dead-ass serious. It was pretty funny to me. I didn’t have have a sense one way or another. I felt it was a good conversation”
On Tuesday, Nash said on ESPN Radio that Howard didn’t fele wanted during his one-and-done season with the Lakers.
“Steve is the quintessential teammate,” Bryant said. “Steve takes that stuff to heart, man, but I really don’t care. As a teammate, you have to be there to support but you also have to drive a hard bargain at times. So, Steve, that really hit home for him.”
In the end, Bryant felt the same way Shaq did — “Not being able to handle the bright lights of LA.”
“I think everybody is cut differently,” Bryant said. “[Howard] has his way of leading that he feels like would be most effective and would work for him, and obviously the way we’ve gone about it with this organization and the leaders that we’ve had — myself, Magic] and Kareem — we’ve done it a different way.”