After a difficult season Lakers forward/center Pau Gasol is looking forward to a new start this fall with the Lakers sans Dwight Howard.

"I understood and understand it was a difficult situation for a lot of people to make things work" Gasol said Friday in a phone call from Spain. "As difficult as it was at times now it's behind us and all we can do is focus on the present and what's coming."

Coach Mike D'Antoni even benched Gasol for a stretch hoping to find a way to build a winner around Howard despite Gasol's track record with two NBA titles.

"I don't hold grudges. I really don't get stuck in the past" Gasol said. "Things happen for a reason that's why I always stay in the present. I'm happy with my position now. I'm excited to get started in training camp when the time comes."

To be fair the decision to prioritize Howard over Gasol was a franchise decision -- not just D'Antoni's.

Howard has since departed for the Houston Rockets in free agency. After Howard announced his decision Kobe Bryant posted a picture of himself with Gasol on Instagram.

"I appreciated it a lot coming from him. We have a relationship friendship and that showed how much he counts on me. I count on him it was a great gesture from him" said Gasol of Bryant. "His support has been incredible. His loyalty and respect for me has been off the charts. I have the same amount of respect or more towards him. I appreciate that coming from him. It means a lot."

D'Antoni recently told local radio that he anticipates Gasol will be a major part of the Lakers' success next season.

"I expect him to have the best year he's ever had" said D'Antoni. "I'm extremely happy he's on the team."

Gasol will need to recover first from procedures in May on both knees to help alleviate tendinosis. He's still working his way back to health three months later.