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A little wink-wink by Los Angeles Lakers legend and current President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson has cost the team a cool half-million bucks -- that's $250,000 per wink.

The gist of the alleged tampering was in regards to illegally recruiting Oklahoma City Thunder and soon-to-be-free-agent Paul George to play for the Lakers in 2018. Most think the tampering occurred when the ever-charismatic Johnson was asked about Paul George while a guest on the Jimmy Kimmel show.
 
So, what is tampering in regards to NBA players? Here's how ESPN front office insider Bobby Marks sums it up:
Under NBA tampering rules, no player, coach or management person may entice or induce a player under contract with another team to play for his team.

While there's plenty of talk around the league that Paul George has interest in joining the Lakers (why other than mere geography is beyond me), Magic was not allowed, by rule, to even comment on the possibility because Paul George was still under contract with the Indiana Pacers.

After Magic's appearance on Kimmel, he and the Lakers were warned by the NBA about its anti-tampering laws and were told to cease all external communications regarding the potential acquisition of Paul George.

I guess Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka didn't get that memo because that's where the real tampering occurred. The reports allege, again, after Magic's appearance, that Rob "Don't Call Me 'Lowe'" Pelinka -- a former powerhouse of an agent -- was in communication with Paul George's agent in regards to PG suiting up in the horrid purple-and-gold in the near future.

Shame shame. I always wondered when the whole former agent/current General Manager thing would cause a problem.

And here it is. Or was, I should say. The investigation is complete and, while the Lakers could have been banned from signing PG the first chance they get on July 1, 2018, the NBA decided to simply hit the Lakers with what I deem to be nothing more than a cute slap on the wrist: a $500,000 fine.

Magic reportedly told team owner Jeannie Buss today to take the coin out of his paycheck. We'll see if that happens.

Looks like Magic and the Lakers escaped pretty much scot-free. I guess Johnson simply flashed the league with his iconic smile. Or as I call it, his magic wand.

Follow Edward Babaian on Twitter: @bojixbabaian

Photo Credit: L.A. Times

Edward Babaian 9/06/2017 08:06:00 PM Edit
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