Lakers fined $500K for violating anti-tampering rules with Paul George
The Los Angeles Lakers have been fined $500,000 for violating the NBA’s anti-tampering rules in their dealings with Paul George, the league announced Thursday.
According to a statement released by the NBA, an independent investigation concluded that Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka had impermissible contact with George’s agent, during which Pelinka expressed interest in the star swingman joining the Lakers.
The investigation also determined that Magic Johnson committed a tampering violation with some comments he made about George in an April appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and the fine came after the Lakers were issued a warning for that conduct.
“We gonna say hi because we know each other,” Johnson said on the show when asked about George. “You just can’t say, ‘Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,’ even though I’ll be wink-winking like, ‘You know what that means, right?’”
Johnson also sent some not-so-subtle tweets immediately after a report came out claiming George had informed the Pacers he intends to sign with the Lakers next summer, but the NBA’s release made no mention of any social media activity.
The league could have punished the Lakers with anything ranging from a fine to a loss of draft picks, so it sounds like they got off relatively easy. If nothing else, they’ll now have to be careful with how they court George before he becomes a free agent next summer.