UPDATE (2/12): The NBA made quick work in finding no evidence of tampering against the Lakers.
The NBA gives Magic Johnson a pass for his comments on Ben Simmons. Turns out, context matters. pic.twitter.com/XOFKxxRwd1
— Bill Oram (@billoram) February 12, 2019
ORIGINAL: This is not a reposted story.
The NBA has announced that they are once again investigating Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers for tampering. The announcement came after Johnson told a group of reporters that he had spoken to Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons about possibly working out together at the young star’s request. Johnson noted that the Lakers, 76ers and NBA would all have to approve in order for such a workout to occur.
Here are Magic Jonshon’s full comments on potentially working out with Ben Simmons this off-season. He reinforces that approval from all three parties (Lakers, 76ers and the NBA) is first required. pic.twitter.com/l26Zh4e5JW
— Ben Mallis (@BenMallis) February 10, 2019
NBA spokesman Mike Bass tells ESPN: “The league office is looking into whether any contact took place between Ben Simmons and the Los Angeles Lakers that violated NBA rules.”
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 11, 2019
76ers general manager Elton Brand has said that he put an end to such discussions a month ago. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka says that the potential workout was canceled on the Lakers’ end.
So while we figure out the exact timing of when this all happened, the most notable thing seems to be that once again, Magic could not keep quiet. This is now the fourth time in his tenure as Lakers president that the team and its employees have been investigated for tampering, largely because of what the face of the franchise has publicly said, unprompted.
The 76ers don’t seem to be too worried about the interaction and you can nit-pick all you want about whether other franchises would be held to the same standards. Yeah, anti-tampering rules are poorly thought-out and enforced. Yeah, other NBA teams very clearly do not like interacting with Johnson and Pelinka.
But you would think after the first couple of times, they would learn a lesson, right?
Fool me once, shame on me.
Fool me twice, shame on you.
Fool me three times, hey did you guys know I talked to a player under contract with another team?
It’s becoming really old that the Lakers keep giving these brash promises of superstars and wins and all they have to show for it is LeBron James, a .500 record, and a whole lot of “we tampered but hey at least we’re trying, right?”
Teams around the NBA already don’t want to do business with the Lakers. They are the bully franchise in a big market that always get what they want because that’s how it goes. But Magic Johnson’s constant rookie mistakes, unprompted and unwarranted, is just making his job (which he’s coincidentally not doing very well at) even harder.
Regardless of whether the Lakers are found guilty and fined by the NBA or not, this is just another black mark for a front office that routinely seeks them out.