Before the season even started during the lockout, I asked them privately, I even talked to [teammate] Jameer [Nelson] and [then-general manager] Otis [Smith] and I said, 'Hey, I just want a change in my life. It has nothing to do with [then-coach] Stan Van Gundy. This has nothing to do with the players here in Orlando. It has nothing to do with Orlando itself.' I just felt I was too comfortable and I wanted more for myself and more for basketball.
Those in the front office apparently agreed to make a deal but changed their mind the next day.
The result was numerous stories discrediting the young center who had won three straight Defensive Player of the Year Awards. However, he hopes to be remembered fondly by Orlando's fans.
"I got to change that city. Change the way they viewed basketball. Change the way they viewed basketball players."
"The issues they say happened between me and James were small communication issues."
As for Kobe Bryant, "There was never an issue with me and him."
He was upset about how he was portrayed with the Lakers, however. Despite coming off back surgery and suffering a torn labrum, he did lead the league in rebounding.
"I laid my life out because I wanted to win."
Howard also noted he hasn't spoken to Bryant since leaving Los Angeles in 2013.
The 31-year-old is apparently content with the Atlanta Hawks these days, averaging 13.1 points and 12.9 rebounds per game while helping the squad remain competitive in the Eastern Conference.
Further, there haven't been stories about any problems with teammates. It appears returning to his hometown was what he needed.
"We can do something special here," Howard said. "This team has always been close to my heart even while being in the NBA. It was tough to come play here. It was tough to watch them in the playoffs and see them lose. This place has always been special to me."
Howard—who said he is a "no doubt" Hall of Famer—will now try to do whatever he can to bring home a title for his city.