NBA notes: Magic Johnson leaving ESPN broadcast team
Magic Johnson won't return to ESPN as an NBA studio analyst.
The Hall of Famer says in a statement released by the network Thursday that because of his busy schedule, "I don't feel confident that I can continue to devote the time needed to thrive in my role."
Johnson is part of the ownership group that agreed to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers in March 2012. Since retiring from basketball, he has been successful in business, investing in movie theaters, a production company and restaurants. He has also been an activist in the fight against HIV after being diagnosed with the virus in 1991.
He expanded his role on ESPN to join "NBA Countdown" in 2011.
Johnson says: "I will always feel a strong connection to the ESPN family and I enjoyed working with them very much."
Rockets beat Pacers in first game in Manila
James Harden scored 21 points Thursday to lead the Houston Rockets to a 116-96 win over the Indiana Pacers in the first NBA preseason game in Manila, Philippines.
Omri Casspi added 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for Houston, while Paul George led the Pacers with 17 points. Dwight Howard was held to nine points in his second game for the Rockets after struggling with foul trouble, and had four turnovers.
Houston coach Kevin McHale started Patrick Beverly at point guard and Terrence Jones at power forward instead of Jeremy Lin and Donatas Motiejunas, who started in the first preseason game.
"I told them I will change starting lineups every game to see what happens. They're aware of it," McHale said.
NBA commissioner David Stern said the basketball-obsessed country is an ideal host for NBA preseason games, and the league may go to other Southeast Asian countries.
He said Filipinos were "rabid fans in a wonderful way."
Around the league
Bobcats • Charlotte announced that backup center Brendan Haywood will miss at least 12 weeks with a stress fracture in his left foot.
The team said that Haywood will have surgery next week to repair the problem. Test results revealed a stress fracture in the navicular bone.
Surgeons are expected to place two screws in the bone to reinforce the stress fracture and help it to heal.
Haywood played in 61 games last year for Charlotte and averaged 3.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.
Mavericks • Forward Brandan Wright has a small, non-displaced fracture to his left shoulder.
The Mavericks said that surgery for the injury, which happened Tuesday in practice, is not anticipated at this time. The team gave no timetable for his return and said he will be reevaluated weekly.
The 6-foot-10 Wright joined the Mavericks as a free agent in December 2011. He signed a 2-year deal with Dallas this summer. He averaged 8.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks a game while shooting 60 percent from the field last season.
Pistons • Guard Rodney Stuckey broke a bone in his right thumb after catching it in a car door.
The Pistons said Stuckey, injured Wednesday, will have surgery Friday and that a timeline for his return will be determined after the procedure. Stuckey averaged 11.5 points in 76 games last season.