|Monday, October 21
Paper says Johnson unlikely to take Sonics up on offer
ESPN.com news services
LOS ANGELES -- Magic Johnson's interest in buying a piece of the Seattle SuperSonics has apparently cooled, the Los Angeles Times has reported.
According to the newspaper, Johnson has told friends he does not intend to take Howard Schultz's offer to buy into the SuperSonics. Johnson currently has a five-percent share of ownership in the Los Angeles Lakers.
Earlier, Johnson told the News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash., that he was "65 or 70 percent down the road" toward becoming a part owner and administrator of the Sonics. He told the newspaper that all that was left was discussing with Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss a financial buyout.
That has apparently fizzled, though friends of Johnson note that he wants to run an NBA team, much as Jerry West has done with the Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies.
Johnson told the News Tribune on Oct. 13 that he and Sonics principal owner Howard Schultz this summer have discussed how much money it would cost Johnson to join the Sonics ownership group and what role he would play with the organization.
"If you ask me where we are, right now we are about 65 or 70 percent down the road," Johnson told the News Tribune. "I am excited. Howard is excited. Hopefully there can be a deal."
Johnson told the News Tribune he would help players work out in the summer, help recruit free agents, and help deal with players with issues because of the respect his name commands. He also said he would work in the community to raise team awareness, and even work with local governments to get a new arena if and when that topic arises.
"I'm a worker, so you are going to see me in Seattle green everywhere," Johnson said. "Whatever they would send me in to do, that's what I would do. I am a team player."
Johnson lives in Los Angeles, where he runs Magic Johnson Enterprises. He said he would continue to live in California, but would maintain a residence in Seattle.