Dwight Howard on NBA future: I have '10, 11 years' left in me

HOUSTON -- While next summer could be the summer of Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard also can become a highly sought-after free agent.

Howard, the Houston Rockets' star center, can opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent much like Durant.

Howard, however, said Wednesday he's not thinking about the future and just focused on helping the Rockets win a title.

"There is no need to live in the future," Howard said. "I'm not a guy who lives in the future. The only moment that matters is right now and what we accomplish as a team. It starts with training camp, today is the second day, tomorrow is the third day and we just got to work on getting better every day. There is no need for me to focus on anything that's going to happen next summer. My job is to focus on how I can help this team be the best team in the NBA and win a championship."

The last time Howard was a free agent was after the 2012-13 season, when the Los Angeles Lakers were thought to be the front-runner to sign him. Howard, however, spurred them and other teams, choosing to sign a four-year, $87.5 million deal with the Rockets.

Lakers fans haven't forgiven Howard, and he hears it every time he plays at Staples Center.

"It's always a lesson," Howard said of that free agency summer. "I didn't want to talk about it then. It's a lot of stuff going on."

Howard, 29, enters his 12th season having played in a career-low 41 games last season due to an assortment of injuries. Coach Kevin McHale had said the team will monitor Howard's workload in training camp with the goal of using him sparingly in the preseason, which starts Tuesday.

"Y'all acting like I'm about to retire," Howard said. "I mean, I feel good. I'm 29 years old regardless of me being in the league for 12 years, I'm fairly young. I got about a good 10 years left in me. I'm going to give everything I got for these 10, 11 years I got left."

The Rockets haven't publicly stated if they want Howard to return, but it's assumed they still value a man who will make a base salary of $22.3 million this season.

Howard, while not talking about the future, is committed to this team.

"Our focus is just winning this championship, not focus on free agency," Howard said. "We're in pursuit of a championship. As the NBA says: 'The Quest.' That' s our focus, is to win a championship. Whatever happens is going to happen. I love this city. This city has been great to me. My focus is to bring a championship here. My mind can't be on nothing but helping this team win, and that's all I'm focusing on."