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Lakers exec Jim Buss on Dwight Howard: 'He was never really a Laker'

Dwight Howard left the Lakers for the Rockets, leaving $30 million on the table. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images) Dwight Howard left the Lakers for the Rockets, leaving $30 million on the table. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Even though Dwight Howard sure looked like he was in a Los Angeles Laker uniform last year, Lakers executive/owner Jim Buss saw things different for the 11 months the seven-time All-Star was with the team.

Howard, who averaged 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds his one season in L.A., left $30 million on the table to sign a four-year, $88 million deal with the Houston Rockets after testing the free-agent waters.

"He was never really a Laker," Jim Buss told the The Hollywood Reporter. "He was just passing through."

Last month, Lakers guard Steve Nash said that Howard wasn't comfortable and didn't want to be in Los Angeles.

His sister, Jeanie, who runs the business side of the team said that her father, the late Dr. Jerry Buss, would have kept Howard a Laker.

"It's disappointing that Dwight isn't here," Jeanie said. "I feel like we failed him."

D’Antoni: Howard’s departure from Lakers ‘mind-boggling’

Jim Buss also said he didn't have a problem with former coach Phil Jackson, who has been dating his sister for more than a decade.

"I have zero problem with Phil, and Phil has zero problem with me," Buss said.  "Mitch and I interviewed Phil together and then we reported back to my dad at the hospital for hours upon hours. ... He gave the final hammer; we just enforced it."

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