Report: Magic to offer Howard extension after season

The Orlando Magic will attempt to sign All-Star center Dwight Howard to a contract extension next summer in a bid to prevent him from becoming a free agent, the Orlando Sentinel reported Tuesday.

Magic general manager Otis Smith said all indications that he has received point to Howard staying in Orlando to try to secure the franchise’s first NBA title.

The 25-year-old Howard, who was drafted first overall in the 2004 NBA Draft, can opt out of his five-year, $80 million contract after the 2011-12 season and become a free agent.

When asked Monday about his future plans, Howard said, "I plan on being here forever. I love Orlando," though he would not specifically commit to signing an extension after this season.

A team’s willingness to offer a top-dollar extension does not necessarily mean a player will stay.

The Nuggets offered star forward Carmelo Anthony a three-year, $65 million extension this past summer, but Anthony refused to sign it, forcing the team to explore a trade for its top player.

Anthony has reported to Nuggets training camp as talks reportedly continue between the New Jersey Nets, the Nuggets and several other teams.

Howard, arguably the NBA’s top big man at the moment, led the Magic to the NBA Finals in 2009, but the team fell to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Howard has won the Defensive Player of the Year award the past two seasons. He has averaged 17.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game in his six-year career.