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Dwight Howard on Courtney Lee and Tony Battie

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Beyond volunteering that Courtney Lee is still "hurting" over his trade to the Nets, Dwight Howard has in the past few days praised both Lee and Tony Battie, also acquired in the Vince Carter trade.

In a phone interview with Yahoo! Sports Marc J. Spears and in an impromptu talk with reporters during filming of "Just Wright", Howard said that he believes Lee "could be an All-Star" with the Nets and Battie had "motivated me every day to become a better player and a better person." Here’s the rest of what he said:

On Courtney Lee:

"Courtney, that probably hurt me more than anything. Two days after the Finals, me and him were already talking about what we were going to do next season to get back to the Finals. We were looking forward to it and hanging out, just talking about how we were going to make ourselves better.

"And then I wake up a couple days later – the same day Michael Jackson died – I got the message that Michael died and then got the message that my teammates were traded. It was a pretty bad day."

"Courtney’s a hard worker. I told him he needs to make the best out of this situation, learn from it, use whatever he feels is negative as positive motivation to come here and get better. If he continues to work hard he could be an All-Star."

On Tony Battie:

"Tony, he was kind of like my big brother. We grew up together. He helped me become the person I am today. So just to see him leave was sad. I didn’t want to see him go.

"Tony was like my big brother. Whatever I needed, he helped me with. He really was the one that motivated me every day to become a better player and a better person. When I needed somebody to talk to or when I needed somebody to lean on, he was there for me. I really appreciate him for what he’s done for me."