Dwight Howard's impending free agency in 2012 promises to be the next chapter in a three-part story where the off-court rumors outweigh what is happening in the actual games. First, it was LeBron James, then, it was Carmelo Anthony. Now, it appears fairly certain that Howard is next. The Magic center told NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper that he will indeed become a free agent and turn down Orlando's contract extension offer.
Dwight Howard reaffirmed his desire to stay with the Magic, but told NBA.com on Monday that he will definitely become a free agent rather than sign an extension in the next year and also left open the possibility he would reconsider his future in Orlando if the team does not win the title next season.
The Magic have a two-year offer on the table, the longest they can offer now under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. Howard could sign for more years as an unrestricted free agent after 2012, and he would like to do so. However, he also was critical of some pieces on Orlando's current roster, saying they aren't always fully committed to winning.
"It's off and on. Sometimes guys are there whole-heartedly and then sometimes I've had teammates allow people getting in their ears and things like that effect the way that they play and approach the game."
Howard said he did not make any specific player suggestions to Orlando management, beyond finding players who would "play hard for 48 minutes."
For more on Howard's impending free agency, visit Orlando Pinstriped Post.