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Report: Dwight Howard interested in signing with Magic

Miami Heat v Orlando Magic

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 21: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic argues a call during a preseason game against the Miami Heat at Amway Center on December 21, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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Dwight Howard, who will surely opt out and become a free agent this summer, is sending an transparent message to NBA teams:

If you pay me, I will come.

Howard is also apparently making targeted pitches – first to the Knicks and now the Magic.

Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report:

League sources tell me that the Magic have heard through back channels that Howard would entertain a return to the Magic Kingdom. Make no mistake, his first choice is to return to the Houston Rockets. But if Houston is not on board with that, Howard is exploring his options, and Orlando is on the list.

On one hand, the Magic could use a rim protector like Howard. On the other hand, his exit from Orlando got messy.

Howard, 30, is too old to fit with the rest of the Magic’s young roster. But they’ve been trying to fast-track their rebuilding for a couple years. They’re also reportedly interested in similarly aged Al Horford. Either big could help the team reach the playoffs.

The key question? Would Orlando pay Howard what he wants? He’s clearly seeking one last high-paying long-term contract. He’d take one from the Rockets, Knicks, Magic or just about anyone offering.

Howard’s age, health issues and style of play will give teams pause about paying him for the next four to five years. But he’s still productive, and if recent years are a guide, will ramp it up in the postseason (if Houston makes it).

Right now, it seems Howard is trying to drum up interest. Maybe these rumors help.

But there’s nothing more productive he can do than helping the Rockets reach the playoffs and producing well in them.