Now, Johnson Would Rather Own Than Play For The Lakers This Fall


Magic Johnson on Friday called off plans for his latest comeback, saying he will instead return to his other former role, that of minority owner and Los Angeles Laker vice president.

“I’m concentrating on that,” he said. “I’m not trying to come back. I’m concentrating on working with Dr. (Jerry) Buss and with Jerry West to see how we can take the franchise and the team to the next level.

“It (playing again) is done. It’s out of me. Let’s just go ahead and concentrate on this stuff.”

This marks the third time in a little more than 12 months Johnson has said in no uncertain terms he was permanently retired. One came last July 18, about six months before he returned to the Lakers. One came in May after the first-round playoff elimination, about two months before he went to Atlanta for the Olympics, appeared on national television and said he planned to return in January, the soonest possible because the Lakers had renounced his rights.

Friday’s decision was the third.

Police in Chesapeake, Va., are investigating allegations that Golden State’s Joe Smith was involved in a barroom brawl that ended with a male dancer badly cut.

Ray Allen, the fifth pick in the 1996 NBA draft, signed a three-year undisclosed contract with the Bucks.

The arraignment of Portland guard Isaiah Rider on minor drug and gambling charges was postponed, and his lawyer said a plea bargain is under negotiation.

Buck Williams signed a multi-year deal with New York believed to be a two-year contract worth approximately $2.6 million.

Free agent Derek Harper signed with Dallas. The club would not confirm terms of the agreement, but it’s reportedly worth $3 million over two years.

Cleveland signed first-round draft pick Vitaly Potapenko out of Wright State. He was selected 12th overall. The NBA rookie pay scale entitles the 6-foot-10, 277-pound forward to a three-year deal worth $3,071,500.

Washington signed free agent Lorenzo Williams to a multi-year contract. He played with Dallas the past two seasons.

Howard Eisley signed an undisclosed contract with Utah.

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