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Jason Terry says he'll return for 17th season in 2015-16

HOUSTON -- Facing the prospect of elimination from the playoffs Monday night, Rockets guard Jason Terry was adamant that Game 4 of these Western Conference finals would by no means be his last.

At 37 and soon to be a free agent, Terry told ESPN.com that he fully intends to return for a 17th NBA season in 2015-16.

"One hundred percent," Terry said before Monday's tipoff.

Initially dismissed as a Houston trade acquisition coveted by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey either as a future trade asset or as a swipe at the rival Dallas Mavericks, given Terry's long history alongside Mark Cuban, Terry quickly hushed such assumptions by emerging as one of the Rockets' strongest locker room voices.

And he has taken on a role in Houston's backcourt since the late March wrist injury that has knocked starter Patrick Beverley out of the postseason.

The Rockets are thus expected to try to bring Terry back via free agency come July. He's in the final season of a three-year, $15.6 million deal he landed from the Boston Celtics in the summer of 2012 after a eight-season run with the Mavericks that featured a championship in 2011 and an NBA Sixth Man of the Year award in 2009.

Earlier in the playoffs, Rockets center Dwight Howard said of Terry: "He's been a great veteran to our team, a great voice in the locker room, a great voice on the court wherever it may be. He's been consistent all year. He's done an excellent job bringing myself and James [Harden] closer as teammates and also as leaders of this team."