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Dwight Howard says he didn’t leave the Lakers because of Kobe Bryant

Lakers teammates Dwight Howard, left, and Kobe Bryant walk off the court during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks in January 2013.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Dwight Howard did not leave the Lakers because of Kobe Bryant, at least that’s what he told the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday.

“I didn’t leave L.A. because I was afraid of Kobe Bryant,” said Howard to the Chronicle. “I went to a good situation for myself. I can’t change people’s opinions, but I did what I had to do for myself.”

The Lakers acquired Howard before the 2012-13 season. The team finished the season with a 45-37 record, but Bryant tore his Achilles’ tendon before the playoffs.

Howard spurned the Lakers’ recruiting efforts as a free agent, choosing instead to join the Rockets.

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A recent ESPN.com article slammed Bryant, contending he was scaring away free agents, including Howard, although the center’s comments suggest otherwise.

The two franchises open the 2014-15 season Tuesday night at Staples Center.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.


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