Q: On what Dr. Buss meant to him in such a short period of time:
Howard: I’ve heard nothing but great things since I’ve been here. I actually had an opportunity to see him when I first got traded here. We had a great conversation. He’s a great guy to be around. I wish I would have saw him before he was in the hospital when he was active with the team. I was just happy to have the opportunity to sit down and see what he was really about. It’s a sad situation, but like I said, he’s a great man.
Q: On his experience during the All-Star weekend :
Howard: It was the first time I’ve had a chance to really get some rest in. All-Star weekend is normally a busy time, but this time, I got a good chance to get some rest and get some work in with our trainers. I’m looking forward to the second half.
Q: On if he’s surprised he only played 14 minutes in the All-Star game:
Howard: No, I wasn’t surprised. We had already talked about my minutes and everything. One thing I told (Gregg) Popovich is the second half of the season is very important. I didn’t want to risk anything out there playing and understanding that in the All-Star game it starts to get super serious come the third or fourth quarter. With me being out there, anything around the basket and those guys will try to foul me, and I didn’t want to risk it. There’s plenty more All-Star games to be played in, God-willing. Like I told coach the second half, it’d be better for me and my team to just pull me out. That’s what he did.
Q: On if his shoulder feels better or if he’s trying to maintain where it’s at right now:
Howard: For anybody who has had a torn labrum, they understand there are days where it feels super good. All it takes that one movement or that one hit and it starts to hurt and it gets numb and all that stuff. There’s really nothing I can do at this point, but continue to rehab, continue to strengthen it and hope I don’t have any problems during games.
Q: On if each time he gets hit, everything is taken away from when he was trying to strengthen the shoulder:
Howard: Not each time. It just depends. There are some days where it feels good and there are some times I get hit in the game, fight for position down in the paint, boxing out, or whatever it may be where it gets hit. There are certain situations where the times I’ve gotten fouled where I’ve had to come out of the game and I’ve had to miss games because of that. As of late, it’s been pretty good and holding up. Hopefully, it can stay that way for the remainder of the season.
Q: On if he senses any progress that he made over the weekend in his shoulder:
Howard: I really can’t tell until we start playing, but our trainers understood it was a busy weekend and I was doing a lot of stuff. They didn’t want to overwork my body – just making sure I got in the gym and make sure I did something with my body just to stay in pretty good shape.
Q: On what it means to be playing for the Lakers franchise:
Howard: It’s a great experience, for one. It means a lot to see what this team actually stands for and what they mean. It’s different from being around the league and going to different arenas. It’s a totally different atmosphere here. I understand the longer I’ve been here the more I understand how important this franchise is and how people see this team – the legacy, the history and it means a lot.
Q: On if he’s concerned the Lakers culture will change now that Dr. Buss is gone:
Howard: I don’t think so. This franchise and organization will be great. There are a lot of great pieces here and we’re going to do our job to make sure this organization stays the same.
Q: On how much pressure he feels to carry that legacy on:
Howard: Right now, the only focus is for our team is to make sure we have a great second half and make sure we get on the same page and start winning games.
Q: On if he finds any relief about Mitch Kupchak’s comments that he will not be traded:
Howard: He’s been saying that for the last month-and-a-half or two months. There’s always rumors and stuff swirling around. One thing he tells me every day is to trust him, so that’s what I’m going to continue to do and control what I can control.
Q: On why there is so much controversy surrounding him:
Howard: I really don’t know. I haven’t changed as a person. I’m still going to be the guy I was before stuff started to go down. I don’t know, but I’m not going to change who I am. I’m not going to let the stuff that’s been happening defeat me as a person. I’m going to find a way to push through it.
Q: On if he’s had any conversation with Kupchak or Jim Buss about his future:
Howard: They haven’t really said too much about it all year. There’s always stuff that goes on on the outside. As far as on the inside, what we talk about is how I can improve and what we as a team can do to get better. That’s the only thing I’m more concerned with – how we can win games and how we can come together as a team.
Q: On what is different about his role here in Los Angeles and his role in Orlando:
Howard: I have to do whatever I can to help this team win. All of us had to sacrifice parts of our game for this team. Some guys have had to sacrifice more than others. But as a team, we have to figure this out. We can’t rely on anybody else but ourselves. We have to keep whatever happens or whatever we talk about between us. We can’t allow anything to separate who we are as a team. Sometimes we’ve done that. We have to do a better job of keeping it in house, but at the same time, making sure we realize that the only people that can control our destiny is us.
Q: On if there’s any part of him that wants to be traded:
Howard: I just want to win. I just want to win right now where I’m at. I’m committed to this team, to this season and what we can accomplish right now. I’m going to do whatever I can to help this team win. That’s it.
Q: On a report about him being unhappy in Los Angeles:
Howard: Listen, I have never said anything about none of this stuff. So if anybody has a report or anything about what’s going on, if it’s not from me, then obviously it can’t be true. I’m not going to let this situation defeat me. I’m not going to let whatever has happened up until today or in the past affect me. I’m going to get back to being who I am and defeat whatever is in front of me. That’s where I stand in this whole situation. We’re going to look at this second half of the season as an opportunity for our team to do something special and something great, and we’re going to do this for Dr. Buss.