The bond between Lakers center Dwight Howard and Hawks forward Josh Smith go back to their days growing up together in Atlanta and teaming up on the same AAU team.
With the Lakers (29-30) hosting the Atlanta Hawks (33-23) Sunday at Staples Center, Howard conceding the two long-time friends have repeatedly talked about reliving those days and teaming up together.
“We have a couple of times,” Howard said. “But unfortunately that hasn’t happened.”
Howard faced an uncertain future for the past two seasons, both with his hasty departure with the Orlando Magic last year and his public insistence this season he won’t decide whether he’ll resign with the Lakers this offseason until that moment comes. Meanwhile, Smith has been the subject of endless trade rumors the past two seasons.
But before speculating on whether such a pairing would ever take place, Howard made one thing clear.
“We can’t focus on that right now,” Howard said. “We want to make the playoffs and make noise in the playoffs. My focus is solely on winning games and helping this team winning a championship.”
That’s why Howard sounded non-committal on whether Howard would get together with Smith before the game.
“If he wants to go to dinner, we can,” Howard said. “But I’ll probably just be chilling at my house and playing video games. If he wants to hang out, he can. But our job is to just win. He’s not my friend when we step on the floor. We might laugh and joke but we’re trying to win a game.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org