The gulf between Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard became literal Friday, with NBA officials placing the Lakers stars on opposite sides of a giant hotel ballroom for All-Star media interviews.

There was no underlying message, subtle or otherwise.

Bryant and Howard were stationed in those spots because that's where league officials had set up streaming video feeds.

The teammates were also on different ends of the emotional spectrum, Bryant remaining upbeat as he discussed the Lakers' struggles while a dour Howard conceded he wasn't enjoying himself on the court as much as he had earlier in his career.

"At the present time, no," Howard said. "Hopefully it gets better."

Fun times could still be had with the Lakers (25-29) in the coming months. Howard said General Manager Mitch Kupchak and other team executives assured him he would remain a Laker after Thursday's trade deadline.

"They told me they weren't going to trade me," Howard said. "That's what Mitch said."

But would Howard stay a Laker beyond this season? He declined to talk about his plans for free agency other than to say he's "got to do what makes me happy."

He certainly didn't seem happy Friday.

Bryant appeared giddy by comparison after arriving via a private jet that also carried Howard here for Sunday's All-Star game at the Toyota Center. The veteran guard cheerfully entertained questions about his new Chinese Twitter account and the opportunity to get away from a season that has gone wildly astray.