Stan Van Gundy coached Dwight Howard when they were with the Orlando Magic. (Chris Gardner / European…)
Former Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy doesn't think Dwight Howard was happy with his role with the Lakers in their recent season.
Appearing on "The David Baumann Show" via Sports Talk Florida on Tuesday, Van Gundy said, "I do think that Dwight was not real happy with his offensive role.
"He looks around and says, 'Probably with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash and Pau Gasol ... I'm going to have to, at best, share billing. I'm not going to be the featured guy,'" continued Van Gundy.
Does Howard's former coach think the center will leave the Lakers?
"I don't know, maybe he wants to go somewhere else, I don't know about that," said Van Gundy. "I don't think he's going to make a decision on the fact that Steve Clifford [if Clifford gets a head coaching job] or Chuck Person aren't there."
Clifford, who also served as an assistant in Orlando with Howard, has been a target for teams looking to hire a head coach. The Lakers recently informed Person that he won't be retained next season. Both had strong relationships with Howard over the past season.
Howard maintains that he and Van Gundy remain close, despite their falling out in the final days before the Magic let go of the veteran coach.
The Magic, with Van Gundy and Howard, lost to the Lakers in the 2009 NBA Finals.
Mike D'Antoni passes on Team USA assistant position, report says
TWC SportsNet to air top 50 plays of Lakers' season on Wednesday
Phil Jackson skeptical that Dwight Howard has reason to return to Lakers
Email Eric Pincus at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.