Dwight Howard has been coy about his upcoming free-agent status, often dodging questions about it, but he provided his latest insights Tuesday after the Lakers' shoot-around.
Does he see himself as the Lakers' cornerstone after Kobe Bryant's career ends?
"Yeah, I do. That's what we've always talked about since the first day I got here," he said.
When pressed further, Howard backed off slightly.
"The only thing that matters is right now. Nobody can control what happens this off-season," Howard said. "There's no need for me to make the decision right now to where I'm going to be in the future, but my goal hasn't changed. I want to win a championship and I want to win one here. I'm here right now."
Howard acknowledged he could do more to help the Lakers.
"I could be more. It starts with me," he said, saying he needed to get in better shape while battling back and shoulder injuries. "I don't want anybody to feel sorry for me, but it is tough. It's not as easy as I was expecting it to be, but I did come back early ... I'm going to do whatever I can to really get my body, my mind and my spirit in the right place to help this team."