NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Where Dwight Howard goes, drama follows.

And yes, there’s still talk of the controversial center taking his baggage to Brooklyn.

Howard and fellow Lakers star Kobe Bryant “got into a heated exchange” on New Year’s Day in Los Angeles, according to the New York Daily News, fueling speculation that the 27-year-old could become available — yet again — to the Nets.

Howard, who has spoken out about the Lakers’ apparent chemistry issues, had to be “restrained from going at” Bryant after the guard criticized his toughness, the Daily News reported.

But according to NBA insider Jarrod Rudolph, “the rumor of a Dwight-Kobe altercation was nothing more than talk.”

“I also know of two other reporters that were made aware of the rumor last week and also told the story wasn’t true when they looked into it,” Rudolph tweeted Monday.

Howard is set to become a free agent after the season. He “has not committed” to re-signing the Lakers and Brooklyn is “in a position to put together an enticing package” should Los Angeles decide to trade the star, the Daily News reported.

The Nets gunned for Howard not once, but twice during his prolonged breakup with the Orlando Magic. Howard even said he preferred to play in Brooklyn with point guard Deron Williams.

Brook Lopez was the centerpiece in the Nets’ offseason talks with Orlando. Lopez, averaging 18.9 points and 7.4 rebounds in 2012-13, signed a max contract with Brooklyn and won’t be eligible for a trade until Jan. 15.

Howard is averaging 17.3 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocks this season.

Still want Howard, Nets fans? Or should the team stay far, far away? Sound off in the comments!

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