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What Is Magic Johnson Doing?

Wednesday, 20 Oct 2010 | 12:07 PM ET

A day after Magic Johnson , he reportedly sold the 105 Starbucks locations he owns. This liquidation of assets for cash so close together has caused many to try and speculate what Johnson is doing.

Magic Johnson
AP
Magic Johnson

Here's what I know.

Although Johnson has said he would like to own a team like his friend Michael Jordan, there's been very little buzz in the industry about Johnson. Jordan bought the Charlotte Bobcats because he's from North Carolina.

So, which team would Johnson buy?

The automatic answer seems to be the Detroit Pistons, which earlier this month was said to be going to Tigers and Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch. Is it possible that Ilitch's deal fell through or hit a snag? If that's true, no insiders have made a peep about it. Is it possible that Magic is going to be a minority owner of the Pistons? Can't see that. And there's no reason why he'd need $160 million for that. Ilitch would probably give Magic a piece of the Pistons for free. Could he be buying a bigger stake in the Pistons? Maybe, if Ilitch would allow him to run basketball operations.

Magic's Big Sell
NBA Legend Magic Johnson has sold his Starbucks franchises after unloading his ownership share of the Lakers, with CNBC's Darren Rovell.

The Golden State Warriors?

That deal isn't falling apart.

I can't see Magic owning a team just to own it.

That's why I can't see him buying any team he doesn't have a connection to.

On the market?

The Atlanta Hawks, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Indiana Pacers.

The Los Angeles Dodgers? I've never seen him at a baseball game and don't know him to be a baseball fan.

An NFL team in LA? Johnson has never even been mentioned as a prospective NFL owner, according to bankers I've spoken to.

I'll throw one more team out there, as pointed out by my CNBC.com colleague Brian Beers. How about the Orlando Magic, who have been on and off the market for years, have an 84-year-old owner and a spanking new arena? Bob Johnson got his his Bobcats? Can Magic get Magic?

But.... something just doesn't add up here.

Is there a team that will hit the market that we don't know about? Or is our assumption Magic buying a team completely off? It could be, but the fact that Johnson sold his Lakers share seems to suggest that there's another NBA team he has his eye on.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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