Whenever he makes appearances in Los Angeles, Lakers center Dwight Howard noticed the city hasn’t entirely embraced him. He understands why.
“I understand why they’re hesitating,” Howard said. “Because I haven’t signed a deal.”
Howard will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason and hasn’t publicly indicated if he will stay. He could re-sign for five years and $117.9 million instead of a four-year, $87.6 million deal with another team. He believes expressing his intentions would be a distraction.
“I’m here right now, so there’s no need for me to have one foot in and one foot out,” he said. “I’m here. I’m going to do everything I can to help this team win right now, and that’s the only thing that matters.”
Howard conceded he’s looking forward to the summer so he can fully heal his 10-month-old surgically repaired back and aggravated labrum in his right shoulder.
I’m used to training all summer and coming back in tip-top shape,” he said. “It didn’t happen this year, so I’m looking forward to having a full summer and training camp.”
So much for living in the moment.
“That’s the only part I’m looking forward to, getting my body back,” he said. “I’m nowhere near who I was in Orlando. In Orlando, I could play 40 minutes and never get tired. Here I give you about 10 minutes.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org