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June 13th, 2011
The 2011-12 NBA season has been over for just a few hours following the Mavericksâ NBA Finals win over Miami on Sunday night. But a similar free agent class like the Heat lured to South Florida could be in the works for next offseason, led by Orlando center Dwight Howard. And Howard made it clear that he will indeed test the market rather than sign an extension with the Magic.
Previously there were reports that Howard would sign a two-year deal with Orlando, and he has said he wants to stay in central Florida. But he told NBA.com on Monday that he will definitely become a free agent rather than sign an extension in the next year. And Howard also made it clear would reconsider his future in Orlando if the team does not win the title next season.
“I want to win a championship,” the All-Star center said. “I think the owners have to really know that. That’s been my goal and my mission since I’ve been in the NBA â to win a championship. I don’t have side goals or agendas. My main goal is to win a championship. I want to have 14 other guys who feel the same way.”
Asked if the Magic have that now, he said, “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.”
In a way Howard has no right to complain as the Magic added high-priced veterans Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson this season specifically to placate Howard and win a championship. But clearly that mix didnât work as Orlando was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by an Atlanta team it had crushed in the postseason the year before. Howard would be the jewel of the 2012 free agent class, with Chris Paul and Deron Williams just behind him. A Howard and Paul or Williams pairing would turn a team into an instant contender.