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Dwight Howard Affirms Intent To Become Free Agent After 2011-12 NBA Season

Talk about non-news. Atlanta-native Dwight Howard wants to test the NBA free agent market after next season (if there is a next season in the soon-to-be locked out NBA).

The former Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy star told NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper that he was not going to sign a two-year contract extension to stay with the Orlando Magic -- the longest deal that he could ink under the current NBA collective bargaining agreement.

Instead, he'll test the free agent waters and look for a longer deal. Who wouldn't?

Of course, the perennial All-Star, who was reached in Italy during a break at the adidas Eurocamp, reaffirmed that he wanted to stay in the land of Mickey Mouse and make believe. However, he also talked about that other desire that drives him in his NBA career.

"I want to win a championship," Howard told NBA.com. "I think the owners have to really know that. That's been my goal and my mission since I've been in the NBA -- 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."

Whether Howard would be able to do so, either with the Magic or elsewhere in the Southeast Division remains to be seen. The Magic retooled during the regular season, but were bounced by Howard's hometown Atlanta Hawks in the first round.

Ultimately, it may come down to the Orlando organization's commitment to winning and getting the right mix of championship-hungry personnel in the locker room.

"It's off and on," Howard said. "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."

For more on the Dwight Howard saga, visit SB Nation's NBA hubPeachtree Hoops, and the Orlando Pinstriped Post.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.