Magic Johnson on LeBron: Beat your rivals, don’t join them

Magic Johnson on LeBron: Beat your rivals, don’t join them

Magic Johnson said he never would have joined with Larry Bird to win a championship the way

is teaming with


Johnson, who won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, joins fellow Hall of Famer

than joining them.

“We didn’t think about it ’cause that’s not what we were about,” said Johnson, whose Michigan State squad beat Bird’s Indiana State team in the 1979 NCAA title game. “From college, I was trying to figure out how to beat Larry Bird.”

The New York Knicks informed USA Basketball that Amar’e Stoudemire can’t participate in the World Championships in Turkey next month. Team President Donnie Walsh said there was concern about Stoudemire’s uninsured left knee, which underwent microfracture surgery in 2005.

Juwan Howard became the 12th player under contract by Miami for 2010-11 and the sixth newcomer to join the rebuilt roster. The Heat will be the ninth team for Howard, who will begin his 17th NBA season this fall.

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Luke Ridnour and the Minnesota Timberwolves agreed to terms on a four-year contract worth $16 million. The 29-year-old was brought in to add some veteran experience to a roster where no other player is older than 25.

Sports agent Lon Babby is president of basketball operations for the Phoenix Suns. The 59-year-old attorney was introduced at a news conference at US Airways Center. He said his first order of business will be to hire a general manager, or as he put it, “a basketball genius.” Babby’s clients have included Grant Hill, Tim Duncan and Ray Allen. He also represented recent Suns acquisition Hedo Turkoglu.

A person familiar with the situation tell the Associated Press that the Chicago Bulls are finalizing a sign-and-trade deal with the Golden State Warriors for guard C.J. Watson.

The Warriors likely would receive a 2011 second-round pick. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal was not official.

The Los Angeles Clippers and free agent Craig Smith reached a deal for the power forward to return to the team.

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Smith averaged 7.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 16.4 minutes in 75 games last season, when he shot 57 percent from the floor. He was originally acquired by the Clippers last July along with Sebastian Telfair and Mark Madsen from Minnesota in exchange for Quentin Richardson

Brad Miller signed with the Houston Rockets, reuniting the 7-foot center with his favorite coach in Rick Adelman.

Miller signed a three-year, $15 million contract to back up Yao Ming, who is expected to be ready for next season after sitting out a year to recover from foot surgery.

“We’ve been looking for somebody to give us strong minutes at the center spot and pair with Yao Ming for some time,” Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey said.

The Trail Blazers reached an agreement with restricted free agent Wesley Matthews, a deal that was solidified when the Utah Jazz did not match Portland’s offer for the shooting guard.

A source close to the negotiations who did not want to be identified because the deal was not yet official told the Associated Press that Matthews was expected to formally sign either last night or this morning.

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Financial terms were not disclosed.

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