With his impending free agency still a year away, Magic center Dwight Howard already went ahead and announced his plans to test free agency after the 2011-12 season, the Boston Herald reports.
Howard, who is currently on an adidas promotional tour in Italy, told NBA.com Monday that he will turn down Orlando's two-year contract extension offer in favor of becoming a free agent in 2012 — a move that Magic President of Basketball of Operations Otis Smith says he "expected."
"I think free agency is a basketball player's God-given right. It's one of the things they bargained for, so I expected him to look at all of his options and become a free agent, if that's what he's going to choose," Smith told the Orlando Sentinel.
But even with rumors beginning to swirl about Howard's next possible destination, the All-Star center remained steadfast in his claim that he wants to remain with the Magic for the forseeable future.
"This is how I really feel in my heart," he told NBA.com. "A lot of people want to see me go other places, but I want to stay in Orlando. I have a beautiful home there. There are beautiful people down there. My son is in Orlando. He?s getting a lot older and I want to be there to see as many moments as I can of his life."