"You spend time [in the media] talking about Chris Paul or Deron Williams, but what position do they play?" Smith said. "It's the same position that he plays. So, it's not necessarily that he [Howard] is directly throwing him under the bus. But he's indirectly throwing him under the bus.
"They're the best of friends," Smith continued, referring to Nelson and Howard. "They get along. They've had their talks about this whole thing. But the human side of it? It still bothers him a little bit."
Nelson has started this season poorly, averaging just 8.3 points per game on 39 percent shooting. It's still early in the season, but both are career-lows for Nelson.
Nelson made just two of his 16 shot attempts in Wednesday's 85-83 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Nelson and Howard are the Magic's co-captains.
Howard has asked the Magic for a trade, and that trade request still stands. Howard has said publicly that he has been displeased that the team's front office has not acted on more of his personnel suggestions.
One of the three teams Howard has specified as his preferred trade destinations is the New Jersey Nets, who have Williams as their point guard.
According to Smith, all the talk about Howard's future has backed up on Nelson.
"He has to play better, and he recognizes he has to play better," Smith said Friday. "But through all of this, he's the one that's taking the pounding. And, right now, he's justifying the pounding, because he's not playing well. But we sometimes forget in professional sports that they're people. Regardless of what we talk about, they're still human beings.
"So, as tough as he wants to be on the outside, he's a 30-year-old kid. So, we still have to work through the mental aspect of him taking a pounding. The center doesn't come out and say it's directly on Jameer, but basically he has."
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