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Malone declines $1.65M option

Updated: June 18, 2004, 7:53 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Karl Malone became a free agent Wednesday by not informing the Los Angeles Lakers that he was exercising the option on his contract.

His agent, Dwight Manley, said it was strictly a business decision and that if Malone plays for anyone next season, it will be the Lakers.

Lakers spokesman John Black said the team expected the move because Malone would have locked himself into a lower salary than he likely will be able to negotiate should he decide to play.

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