Amid trade talks, Dwight Howard reiterates commitment to Rockets

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard reiterated Wednesday that he wants to finish the season with the team despite reports of a pending trade.

The Rockets have talked to several teams about trading Howard for a variety of players, though nothing has been finalized. The Rockets have spoken to Charlotte, Atlanta, Boston and Toronto about trading Howard, sources told ESPN's Marc Stein and Zach Lowe.

"I don't pay attention to none of that stuff," Howard, an eight-time All-Star, said after the Rockets' practice on Wednesday. "I came out here to Arizona and spent some time here in the mountains, and I got away. I just trained, and I got ready for the second half of the season. No matter what's being said, the only thing I can control is what I do on the floor. That's been my only focus."

Howard told Stein earlier in the week that he has not asked the Rockets for a trade, adding, "I want to win. I want this situation to work. I chose this team. And I'm not running because we have been faced with some adversity."

In order to trade Howard, 30, the Rockets need to find a team that can absorb roughly $17 million on its salary cap. Most of the potential deals would probably involve a third team.

Another stumbling block to making a deal is Howard's pending free agency. He has a $23.3 million player option for next season, something he most likely won't use, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent.

Howard is expected to seek a max contract that could give him an average salary of $30 million per season. A potential new team might just rent Howard for this season and not commit to him long term.

"You always put it out of your mind," Howard said about the swirling trade rumors. "There's always going to be rumors. People are always going to say stuff. At the end of the day, none of that stuff really matters. You're out there working hard, and hard work always pays off. That's my approach. Things will always be said. Just know I've said nothing. I've been in the gym trying to get better, thinking about what I can do to make this team better."

Howard is averaging 14.6 points and 12 rebounds per game this season. He has said his objective is to lead the Rockets to a championship.

Said Howard: "My objective is to go out and play as hard as I can every night for this team no matter what happens."