Surrounded on all sides by a horde of media members, the Lakers' 15-time All-Star guard said that he wasn't taken aback or overly concerned that Howard chose to leave Los Angeles after just one season.
"Honestly, man, I really don't give a sh---," Bryant said. "It is what it is. If he came back, it would've been great. If he didn't, he's not. So it is what it is."
The exchange can be viewed at the 3:20 mark of the LakersNation.com video above. The audio is, obviously, Not Safe For Work.
Howard held a series of meetings with his various suitors, and Bryant was part of the delegation that attempted to woo Howard into re-signing with the Lakers.
"Not really," Bryant replied, when asked if he was surprised that Howard left for Texas. "After the meeting I felt like he was going to go to Houston."
In an interview with Rockets.com this week, Howard said he was ready to move forward after his tumultuous time with the Lakers.
"All the BS is over with, Howard said, referring to years worth of free agency rumors that dated back to his time with the Magic. "The last two years haven’t been easy. It was very tough to get through that, but storms don’t last forever. One thing that I allowed those situations to do to me was take my joy away. I can’t let that happen. These guys, especially these young guys, they’ve brought some life back to me. Just being in this city, the opportunities we have as a team and the things I feel like I can do for this community, it’s given me new life. I’m excited about it and just so full of joy to be able to get back to doing what I do, and doing it with joy."
The Lakers will visit the Rockets in Houston on Nov. 7. Howard will make his first return to the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 19. Video via YouTube user Lakers Nation