No play: Divac says he'll be working for Lakers

Updated: September 16, 2005, 4:39 PM ET
Associated Press

BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro -- Los Angeles Lakers center Vlade Divac plans to retire as a player but will remain with the team as an assistant coach and scout, a Serbian newspaper reported Friday.

Vlade Divac

"It is enough," Divac told the Blic daily. "No, I won't play the next season. I'll work for the Lakers as an assistant coach and an international scout."

The 37-year-old Divac, who returned to the Lakers last season, underwent back surgery in January and played in only 15 games, averaging 2.3 points and 2.1 rebounds. He averaged 11.9 points and 8.3 rebounds in 15 previous NBA seasons -- six with the Lakers, two with Charlotte and seven with Sacramento.

"The injury has only helped my decision to retire," Divac said. "I always gave 100 percent to the sport, and after so many years of playing, I can no longer do that. I'm ending my professional career as a player, but I will remain in basketball."

The Lakers and Divac had previously agreed to postpone a decision on his contract status.

Los Angeles had the choice of picking up a one-year, $5.4 million option or paying a $2 million buyout.

"I can't confirm that Vlade has retired. Right now, it's premature and we have not been notified of that," Lakers spokesman John Black said.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press