Dwight Howard will step away from emotion of Lakers' season before free agency

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

The Lakers center said he'll take time to separate himself from the difficult season in order to prepare for free agency.

Dwight Howard said that he needs to step away from the noise in order to get his head right as he enters free agency. After the Los Angeles Lakers center conducted his exit interviews with general manager Mitch Kupchak, he told the media that he didn't want to allow his emotions or other people's opinions get to him.

Howard said that he told Kupchak he'll be taking his time in determining his future, and that he and the Lakers GM were "in a good place," according to the Los Angeles Times' Eric Pincus.

The expectations in Los Angeles have been difficult on Howard. Criticism was harsh as he came back early from a back surgery last offseason and struggled, and not until the final weeks of the regular season did Howard look like his old self. While he said that living in Los Angeles was enjoyable, the situation with the Lakers and their topsy-turvy year wasn't ideal. Neither was the pressure that built behind a team that needed a late-season run just to make the postseason, Dwight said: "When you win, it's amazing. When you lose, it's terrible"

In the end, Howard averaged 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game during the 2012-13 campaign, not far off career averages of 18.3 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks.

And if the Lakers hope to bring him back, they'll have to determine how or if he'll be able to play with Pau Gasol.

Howard called the chemistry between his fellow big man one of the brighter points of the season, and it might've lent evidence that the pieces were just beginning to fall into place before Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles and Steve Nash began struggling with a hamstring and hip injury.

The situation of course will depend on how the front office feels and how willing they are to shell out money for a roster that greatly underachieved this season.

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