Richard Hamilton turns 35 next month, a time when reflection becomes reality for professional athletes.

"You do start to think about how long you're going to play because you're not at the beginning of your career. You're toward the end," Hamilton said in a quiet moment late Wednesday. "I don't see myself playing any longer than when I'm 38. That will be my max by far."

In his 14th season out of Connecticut, Hamilton prides himself on conditioning and possesses the type of cerebral game that probably could allow him to be knocking down jumpers at 40. One of the shooting guards he most respects is Reggie Miller, who retired from his Hall of Fame career at 39 after 18 seasons.

But Hamilton also has endured two injury-plagued seasons since signing a two-year, $10 million deal with the Bulls. A team option for a third season is unlikely to be exercised. Asked if he will be the kind of player who has to be kicked out of the game, Hamilton shook his head.

"Hell no. No, sir. Not at all," he said. "I know how my body is and how I feel. My game isn't built on athletic ability. I know I can get open. I know I can shoot. Reggie did it until he was damn near 40 or whatever. I can play until I'm 40; I know that. But I'm not going to kill myself trying to do that. When I'm done, I'm done.

"I want to be around my kids. I have young kids. I'm happy I had them late in my career rather than early because I would've lost a lot of their (younger) years being on the road. After this contract, I'll take it one or two years at a time."

Hamilton is averaging 12 points in just 25 minutes, so his mid-range game remains solid. So does his passing ability when double-teamed off pindowns. That's why, despite his recent spate of injuries, the career 45 percent shooter still will be playing somewhere next season.