Lakers' Dwight Howard to 'step away for a couple weeks' before contemplating free agency

Monday April 29th, 2013

(Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images) (Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Dwight Howard, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, dodged questions about his future with the Lakers after getting ejected from a season-ending loss to the Spurs on Sunday.

"I'm going to step away from everything for a couple weeks and clear my head before I do or talk about anything, as far as next season," Howard told reporters following the Lakers' 103-82 loss to the Spurs at the Staples Center. "I think I deserve that. That's what I'm going to do."

San Antonio swept L.A. in four games straight, ending a Lakers campaign that began with high hopes but ended with a 45-37 record, the Western Conference's No. 7 seed and the franchise's first first-round playoff exit since 2007. Howard departed Game 4 with seven points (on two-for-two shooting) and eight rebounds in 21 minutes.

Acquired by the Lakers from the Magic in a blockbuster trade last summer, Howard can re-sign with the franchise for up to five years. He could also leave the Lakers and sign a contract for up to four years with another team.

"I don't want to talk about anything that's for the upcoming season, next year," Howard said. "I just want to reflect on this year and try to get myself better, come back 100 percent." Howard underwent back surgery in 2012 and dealt with a shoulder injury during the season. Despite the injuries, he averaged 17.1 points, a league-leading 12.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks while being selected to his seventh All-Star Game.

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