Last act of the Terry Teagle trade:
Johnson reportedly earns $2.5 million a year. He is thought to have given about $75,000 of it back.
Johnson thus joins the NBA counter-revolution in salary. Chicago's Michael Jordan deferred part of his salary earlier this summer, so the Bulls could get Dennis Hopson. Philadelphia's Charles Barkley has said he'd do it to make room on the 76ers for Adrian Dantley.
"The way it happened," Laker General Manager Jerry West said, "one day we were talking about players. I said we were trying to add a guard, but sometimes it's awkward because you don't have enough money under the cap.
"He said, 'Don't worry. I can help you.'
"I said, 'I can't promise that we can give you this money back.' People think he's being taken care of down the line, but that's not the case. It'll be two years before Earvin Johnson can have anything done on his contract."
Johnson is in Spain, working on an endorsement deal and could not be reached for comment.
The Lakers are reportedly at the salary cap, which prohibits them from renegotiating or extending contracts.
Although Johnson has every expectation of getting his money back--and more--from owner Jerry Buss, and makes more money from outside interests than from the Lakers, he can say without fear of contradiction, he gave at the office.