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Howard opens up about season with Lakers

The SportsXchange

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard told the Los Angeles Times in a recent interview that he came back from injuries too soon and had seen a team psychologist, but danced around free agency questions.

Howard is coming off a season in which he averaged 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds per game in his first with the Lakers.

Howard scored 20.6 points and pulled down 14.5 rebounds for the Orlando Magic in 2011-12 in which his season was cut short due to back surgery.

He played the 2012-13 season with a shoulder injury.

"When I came back from my shoulder injury, some didn't think I was giving my all," he said. "And nobody wanted to hear what I said about coming off back surgery. It wasn't fair to me. I was on a walker and four months later playing basketball. I played hurt."

Howard is a career 57.7 percent free-throw shooter, and shot just 49.2 percent last season. He said he would not change the way he shoots free throws because his shooting woes are mental. He said he did visit a team psychologist.

"I have only one problem and it's between my ears," he said. "I just think too much."

He also said he no longer cares what people think about him.

"I can't do it anymore," he said. "I can't please everybody."

Howard would not directly answer questions about his pending free agency. He has been rumored to have the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets on his short list of teams for which he wants to play.

"It's free agency and I have the opportunity to choose where I'm going to play," he said. "God opens doors, and I'm relying on my faith to direct me. ... "I don't think it's fair I get criticized for waiting on such an opportunity."

Howard will be a free agent on July 1. The Lakers can re-sign him for up to five years and $120 million. The most another team can sign him for is four years and $90 million.
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