Lakers Fined $500K For Tampering

The Lakers have been fined $500K for violating the NBA’s anti-tampering rules, the league announced today in a press release. The ruling comes after the conclusion of an independent investigation conducted by a law firm, per the NBA.

According to the NBA’s announcement, the Lakers had received a warning when president of basketball operations Magic Johnson made comments regarding then-Pacers forward Paul George during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. The $500K fine stems from an “prohibited expression of interest” in George by GM Rob Pelinka during a conversation with George’s agent Aaron Mintz.

The investigation into the Lakers uncovered no evidence suggesting that the Lakers entered an agreement to sign George when he becomes a free agent or made any other promises to acquire him. However, because George remains under contract with another team, the NBA’s tampering rules prohibit Pelinka and the Lakers from expressing interest in him directly to his agent.

The Lakers are widely considered the odds-on favorite to land George when his contract expires in 2018, and the Pacers were reportedly angry about what they perceived to be tampering as they weighed their options for the All-Star forward. Indiana ultimately sent George to Oklahoma City in exchange for Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo, but filed paperwork with the league alleging that the Lakers were guilty of tampering.

Had the investigation into the Lakers revealed that the team had made a wink-and-a-nod agreement with George or his agent, L.A. would have been subject to harsher penalties, including the loss of draft picks and/or suspensions for front office members.

The $500K penalty represents the second-largest tampering fine in NBA history, behind the $3.5MM penalty assessed to the Timberwolves in the Joe Smith saga back in 2000, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today.

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18 thoughts on “Lakers Fined $500K For Tampering

  1. mcase7187

    Another pointless investigation how will this stop billionaires from doing it again there needs no be some kinda of loss to the team like draft picks or money on there cap say they lose a million in cap space or something otherwise it’s pointless

    • mcase7187

      Or if they could but I doubt they can make it so they can’t sign that player for X amount of years like say they can’t sign PG13 for 2yrs or so

    • Philly Fan

      There are much more severe penalties for a team when there’s hard evidence that there was tampering such as the loss of multiple 1st rounders and being prohibited from signing that free agent. However, the Lakers did not tamper with George. Unless Indiana was a championship contender, he wanted to be a Laker because he’s from LA and an LA lifestyle is very different from an Indiana lifestyle

      • mcase7187

        If they didn’t tamper with ph13 then they wouldn’t have been fined and 2nd there has only been 1x that any such penalty has been set like that and that was the t-wolves deal with j smith so don’t tell me they have that rule and it happened under a different commissioner

    • liamsfg

      Naw its a dumb rule to discuss possibilities and opportunities.

      George is under contract and made an agreement with his team not to speak to other teams until he becomes a free agent so it should be his responsibility therefore his breach of contract if he makes an agreement with someone else.

      The way I see it, it shouldn’t be a violation if there were no business agreements made and if there were then Paul George has to be punished as well, financially.

  2. Hannibal8us

    500k for saying “yea we’re interested in him” and people wanted the Lakers to lose draft picks over this. Absolutely comical how irrational haters can be.

    • Well this fine is because Pelinka expressed interest in George via his agent. If Pelinka/Lakers front office said this directly to George and/or the team came to a handshake deal with George the penalty would’ve been more severe.

  3. OCTraveler

    Agree that to fine the Lakers for this is comical but it also is another example of Magic Johnson repeatedly demonstrating his neglect of rules or simply believing they don’t apply to him.

    • Excuse did you read the article? It was
      Pelinka who talked to George’s agent.
      Glad the Lakers only got hit w/a fine
      No draft picks involved. Maybe now we
      Can get George!

      • OCTraveler

        Actually if you read the second paragraph (that’s the break between two sections) you’ll see that the warning was issued to Johnso

  4. Adam37

    Yeah also it states the Pelinka is prohibited by tampering rules from contacting his agent – NOT that he did do it cause that would be a bigger deal

  5. Luke Adams

    To clear up any confusion: The Lakers received a warning for Magic Johnson’s comments on Kimmel. The $500K fine came as a result of Pelinka expressing interest in George directly to George’s agent.

    The fine was likely larger than it otherwise might have been because the Lakers had already received a warning, but there was no penalty for Magic’s comments on their own.

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