Magic hope to keep Howard in Orlando

The Orlando Magic don’t want to get LeBron-ed by Dwight Howard.

The team hopes to sign its All-Star center to a contract extension long before he is eligible to become a free agent in 2012, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Howard, 25, still has two seasons left on his five-year, $80 million deal.

"I plan on being here forever," Howard told the Sentinel. "I love Orlando."

Magic general manager Otis Smith told the paper that he will offer Howard a contract extension next summer.

"Of course we will," said Smith. "We want Dwight to be in a Magic uniform for as long as he plays basketball. That’s in the best interest of our franchise and, we hope, it is in the best interest of Dwight."

The Cleveland Cavaliers tried to do the same with their franchise player, LeBron James, but James turned down contract extensions and signed in July with the Miami Heat. So did Toronto’s Chris Bosh.

Other stars like Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul also have reportedly expressed interest in leaving their current teams. The good news for Orlando is Howard seems happy there. For now.