Houston Rockets guard John Lucas announced his retirement from basketball late last night after a mandatory drug test allegedly revealed traces of cocaine in his system.
Lucas, 31, did not accompany the team to Seattle for a game in which the SuperSonics beat the Rockets, 96-90, and has officially been listed as taking an indefinite leave of absence, pending discussions with the NBA office today.
Nevertheless, Coach Bill Fitch said that Lucas' career with the Rockets is over.
Lucas, a former University of Maryland all-America, has been suspended twice previously in his nine-year pro career by the Golden State Warriors and Washington Bullets and has admitted to a cocaine problem in the past.
"I'm retiring, that's right," said Lucas, who stayed behind at the Thunderbird Jantzen Beach Hotel in Portland after the Rockets' bus departed on the two-hour trip to Seattle. "I can't take it anymore. It's the travel, the road and the life style. I made a decision, I told Bill Fitch about it and that's it . . . It's not something that I decided on the spur of the moment. I've been thinking about it for a while now, for several weeks. This was the time to finally do something about it and I've made the decision to retire."
Fitch said that Lucas' decision was prompted by the latest in a random series of drug tests conducted on Lucas this season. A urine sample was taken following Friday's practice in Portland. Jim Foley, the Rockets' director of public relations, said Lucas "did test positively."