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Magic Johnson Ends SuperSonics Bid

October 24, 2002

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SEATTLE (AP) _ Magic Johnson has ended his bid to buy a portion of the Seattle SuperSonics.

Sonics owner Howard Schultz said he has broken off discussions with Johnson about the former Los Angeles Lakers’ star becoming a minority shareholder of the team. Johnson would have had to sell his 5 percent stake in the Lakers.

Johnson had reached a tentative agreement with Lakers owner Jerry Buss on the value of his interest in the defending NBA champions, but after the Boston Celtics were sold last month for $390 million, Johnson went back to Buss to ask for more money since the Lakers’ value had suddenly appreciated, the Tacoma News Tribune reported.

Johnson met with Buss and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak on Monday, then spoke with Schultz on Tuesday and told him he would not be able to purchase a 5 percent share of the Sonics.

``The reason it is not going to happen is not reluctance, but his inability to be able to work things out in a satisfactory way given the time frame with the Lakers,″ Schultz said.

Johnson left open the possibility of reopening the discussions.

``Unfortunately, the timing is not right for me to join them,″ he said. ``The opportunity may come back. Other opportunities could come back, as well, or I may just stay a Laker forever. There is nothing wrong with that.″

Schultz said he considers the issue closed.

``I would never say never, but the open-ended dialogue would be a distraction,″ he said. ``Given where we are and that we talked for more than a year ... I think it is best to put it to rest and move on.″

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