INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, saying winning is more important than jealousy over Magic Johnson's $25 million contract, said Monday night he wants to finish his career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Abdul-Jabbar, who makes $1 million a year, met with team owner Jerry Buss for more than an hour Monday to discuss several matters.
'A basketball team is much like a family,' said Abdul-Jabbar, a six-time winner of the Most Valuable Player Award. 'And when one member has been singled out, often times other people in that family can become jealous.
'If you have jealousy, everyone cannot be working toward the same goal. I would also like to point out that salary was not even mentioned during the meeting.'
'I have always had an intense desire to win, but the atmosphere here had not been conducive toward that goal,' the 34-year-old center said. 'However, after meeting with my boss this afternoon, the rumors of my departure are premature and I look forward to ending my career with the Lakers.
'Had I thought it was impossible to win here, New York is my home and is the only other place I would want to play. However, my teammates and I are looking forward to the upcoming season and winning the world championship again.'
Part of the problem was the 25-year contract recently signed by Johnson. The pact covers roles Johnson will play as both player and later as management.
'Magic Johnson is a player first and only after his playing days are over will he then become part of management,' said Laker spokesman Bruce Jolesch. 'Some of Abdul-Jabbar's concern over the contract was could head coach Paul Westhead suspend Magic; could he fine Magic; could he discipline him.'
Jolesch said Buss cleared up those issues for Abdul-Jabbar, though he did not elaborate on the details.
Before the meeting, Buss said he would offer to raise his center's contract to $1.5 million when the current pact runs out before the 1983-84 season.
He also indicated he wanted Abdul-Jabbar to play as long as he wanted.
'Magic Johnson is getting $1 million a year for 25 years starting in 1984,' Buss explained in an interview published Monday in the Santa Monica Evening Outlook.
'Abdul-Jabbar has to be paid more. He's the best player in the NBA. I would welcome several more seasons at $1.5 million. How many? As many as are reasonable.'
Buss said he would 'listen as both a friend and an owner' to any request for a trade. But he said recently it would take 'practically a whole team to make an even trade for Kareem' and made it clear he much preferred to keep the center.
'If he wants more years, that will be fine,' he said. 'I checked with coach Paul Westhead. He says Kareem can be effective for many more years.'
Abdul-Jabbar reportedly pondered a trade to the New York area because it is his hometown -- as Lew Alcindor, he played high school ball at Power Memorial Academy in New York City before leading UCLA to three straight NCAA titles -- and because it is his parents hometown.
Red Holzman, coach of the Knicks, described reports of a possible trade as 'premature' pending the outcome of Monday's meeting.
'We'll see what happens and see what the situation is,' he added. 'Certainly, a guy of his caliber, you have to be aware of it.
'I think we'd have to wait for the proper time. It's too early.'
Nets coach Larry Brown, who recently moved east from UCLA, was not available for comment. A team spokesman, however, said there had been 'no communication at all' between Abdul-Jabbar and the Nets.