Lakers fined $50K for Magic Johnson tampering with Giannis Antetokounmpo
For the second time in five months, the Los Angeles Lakers have been fined by the NBA for violating the league’s tampering rules. Once again, some comments made by president of basketball operations Magic Johnson contributed to the penalty.
According to the NBA, the fine is a result of some comments Johnson made about Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo in a recent interview.
The NBA announced today that it has fined the Los Angeles Lakers $50,000 for violating the league’s anti-tampering rule. The fine is in response to statements regarding the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo made by Earvin Johnson in a recent media interview.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 6, 2018
Johnson was speaking with ESPN’s Nick Friedell recently when he said Antetokounmpo is going to lead the Bucks to a championship one day.
“With his ball-handling skills and his passing ability. He plays above the rim I never could do that,” Johnson said. “But in his understanding of the game, his basketball IQ, his creativity of shots for his teammates. That’s where we [have the] same thing. Can bring it down, make a pass, make a play. I’m just happy he’s starting in the All-Star game because he deserves that. And he’s going to be like an MVP, a champion, this dude he’s going to put Milwaukee on the map. And I think he’s going to bring them a championship one day.”
The NBA has some insane rules when it comes to tampering that prevent executives from speaking about players who are under contract with other teams, and it appears the league was trying to make an example out of Johnson and the Lakers. The Lakers were fined $500,000 back in September for tampering with Paul George, but the violation that time was more egregious. The team was warned after Johnson went on a talk show and joked about Paul George coming to Los Angeles, and the fine came after general manager Rob Pelinka contacted George’s agent and expressed interest in the star swingman coming to L.A.
While the tampering fine seems a little silly this time around, Johnson will probably react the same way he did last time.