Source: Dwight Howard seeks a deal with a $24M starting salary

When Dwight Howard starts having his free agent meetings on Friday he'll seek a contract starting at $24 million a season according to a source.

Howard is expected to conduct his meetings in his hometown of Atlanta with the Hawks and the Boston Celtics having secured the first discussions with the center.

Portland and Charlotte have also expressed interest in Howard, who declined a player option with the Rockets at $23.2 million.

The amount Howard is seeking isn't that far off from what he declined with the Rockets. However, the Rockets don't believe Howard was worth paying $23.2 million and wanted the 30-year old to take a contract at a reduced financial package.

Howard averaged 13.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game last season. Howard averaged just 8.5 field goal attempts per game, his lowest output since his rookie year of 8.3, in 2004-05.

Howard is one of several centers entering free agency seeking big-time money. Al Horford, Hassan Whiteside along with Howard are at the top of the list. Detroit's Andre Drummond is a restricted free agent and any offer he receives is expected to be matched by the Pistons.

The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears contributed to this report.