Even though the two went through a verbal back-and-forth in the media, Magic guard Jameer Nelson insists Dwight Howard "isn't a bad guy."

But Nelson made it clear he's no longer close with the Lakers center.

"You make friends in the course of your life that's on the court and off the court," Nelson said. "Some of them stick with you and some of them don't. But we have a lot of life to live. Hopefully we can be friends after basketball."

The relationship strains stem partly from comments Howard made in an interview that aired last week on CBS2/KCAL9 in which he said, "My team in Orlando was a team full of people who nobody wanted. I was the leader and I led that team with a smile on my face."

Nelson wondered aloud to the Orlando Sentinel, "when are you (Dwight) going to take ownership and stay out of the media in a professional manner?"

Nelson, Rashard Lewis and J.J. Redick believed Howard's comments devalued their contributions in helping the Magic make two Eastern Conference Finals appearances and a spot in the 2009 NBA Finals through five playoff stints.

Still, it appeared the two made some inroads in restoring their relationship.