NBA rumors: Dwight Howard to test free agency

The Los Angeles Lakers have made their intentions known. With an aging Kobe Bryant, they view Dwight Howard as their future. The question is, does Howard feel the same way?

Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles is reporting that, according to several sources familiar with Howard's thinking, the big man will likely explore the free agent market before ultimately reaching his decision on where to play next season and beyond. Specifically, this means that Howard could listen to pitches from potential suitors -- including the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers -- while he negotiates with the Lakers.

The Lakers made a statement when they opted not to trade Howard during the season. They clearly hope to build around the 27-yea-old, but he's been fairly noncommittal on his future thus far.

If it comes down to money, Howard's best deal will come from the Lakers. He can sign a five-year, $118 million contract to remain with Los Angeles, or he can sign a four-year, $87.6 million agreement with another team.

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