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Ron Harper Signs With Lakers

October 13, 1999

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) _ Free agent guard Ron Harper, a starter on three NBA championship teams in Chicago, is rejoining coach Phil Jackson with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Harper, 35, signed a two-year, $4.2 million contract with the Lakers on Wednesday. The 6-foot-6 Harper will provide the Lakers’ backcourt with some much needed experience in Jackson’s triangle offense.

``We’re pleased to add a player of Ron Harper’s ability to our team,″ executive vice president Jerry West said. ``He’s a good player at both ends of the floor and also, having played for Phil in Chicago, his knowledge of the triangle offense will be a benefit to the other players.″

The Bulls renounced their rights to Harper last month. A 13-year veteran, he played five years for Chicago after three-plus seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers and four-plus seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Harper, who signed with the Bulls as a free agent on Sept. 15, 1994, once likened leaving the Clippers to getting out of jail.

He had a different tone Wednesday about returning to Los Angeles, saying, ``I’m happy to be here and happy to be a part of this great team that is hopefully going to be even greater very soon.″

Harper played 35 of a possible 50 games in last year’s lockout-shortened season with the Bulls, averaging 11.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.0 blocked shots and 1.7 steals.

He had his best year in the 1986-87 season as a rookie with Cleveland, averaging 22.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists. A first-round draft pick of the Cavaliers after playing for four years at Miami of Ohio, he has career averages of 14.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists.

Jackson left the Bulls after the 1997-98 season, when he coached the team to its sixth championship in a span of eight years, and was hired by the Lakers last June.

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