The Lakers received a significant fine last week for violating the NBA’s anti-tampering policy, and team president Magic Johnson wants that penalty taken out of his salary. As he tells Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times, Johnson doesn’t want Lakers owner – and his good friend – Jeanie Buss to be on the hook for that $500K.
“We can’t say a lot but we will correct the situation,” Johnson said on Monday, per Ganguli. “It’s under my watch. I apologize to Jeanie, and that was the main thing. I told her she could take it out of my salary because I don’t want the Lakers to be paying that fine. … I don’t want her spending $500,000, because she didn’t do anything. That’s on me.”
Technically, Johnson wasn’t directly responsible for the Lakers receiving that $500K fine — although the rookie president discussed Paul George during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live earlier this year, the Lakers only received a warning from the NBA for those comments. The league levied a penalty on the team after an investigation revealed that GM Rob Pelinka had expressed interest in George to agent Aaron Mintz — that expression of interest directly to an agent is prohibited when a player is under contract with another club.
Nonetheless, Johnson takes responsibility for the misstep, noting that it happened under his watch. The Lakers president insists that the club won’t repeat that mistake in the future.
“We’re going to have meetings about it next week,” Johnson said. “I’m gonna always care about the Laker brand, the Laker fans, so I apologize to them as well. The main thing is we’re going to move forward. We got 95% everything’s going great. This is the one thing that went bad. … This is something we can correct. Adam [Silver] is a great friend of mine. I’m glad he was able to do his job. Now I’m gonna do my job.”