The tampering saga is over as the Los Angeles Lakers were fined 500,000 dollars by the NBA on Thursday. The fine came as a result of general manager Rob Pelinka contacting Paul George’s agent (who also represents Julius Randle and former Laker D’Angelo Russell). Magic Johnson was previously given a warning for his comments on Jimmy Kimmel Live! regarding the soon-to-be free agent forward.
Pelinka getting chatty w/ PG's agent + Magic on Kimmel = $500k fine. No lost draft picks. LA can still pursue George next summer. From NBA: pic.twitter.com/hIJrGJw9h6
— Bill Oram (@billoram) August 31, 2017
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The Indiana Pacers have filed tampering charges to the NBA on the Lakers for potential “impermissible contact” between Magic Johnson and former Pacers star Paul George. This was first reported by Peter Vescey and later confirmed by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The NBA shortly thereafter confirmed the reports.
The Pacers are opening up the investigation after months of rumors and reports that George was forcing his way to his hometown to play for the Lakers. The small forward eventually asked for a trade and was sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, the build-up to that moment was enough to lower his trade value, netting the Pacers only Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis in return.
Johnson famously appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and hinted at the team speaking to George and “legally” influencing his decision to come to LA. Johnson had previously received warnings from the league for tweeting about other players while on the Lakers’ staff, before becoming the President of Basketball Operations.
The NBA has said that the investigation is still ongoing and no decision has been made. If the Lakers are found guilty of tampering, the punishment could include a fine, loss of draft picks, and being banned from signing George in free agency next summer.
The Lakers are so far vehemently denying any wrongdoing.
The Lakers are denying the allegations filed by the Pacers, insisting that there is no evidence of tampering, and they expect to be cleared in the matter, a team source told ESPN.