NBA confirms Lakers under investigation for tampering

The Indiana Pacers have accused the Los Angeles Lakers of tampering with Paul George earlier this summer, and the NBA is looking into the claim.

A report over the weekend revealed that the Pacers have filed tampering charges against the Lakers, claiming they broke league rules by speaking about and/or contacting George before the star swingman was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. In a press release on Sunday, the NBA confirmed an independent investigation is underway.

“At the request of the Indiana Pacers, the NBA opened an investigation into alleged tampering by the Los Angeles Lakers,” the release said, via Pro Basketball Talk. “The independent investigation is being conducted by the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. The Lakers have been cooperative and, at this point, no findings have been made. We have asked both teams to refrain from commenting all the investigation is ongoing.”

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne provided some details of the investigation, noting that Magic Johnson’s alleged impermissible contact with George is at the center of it. The Lakers are reportedly confident they will be cleared, but possible penalties could include fines, the loss of draft picks and restrictions on their ability to acquire George if they are found guilty.

It’s no secret that the Lakers are the favorites to land George when he becomes a free agent next summer, and Magic Johnson has not exactly avoided the topic since he joined L.A.’s front office. In an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” earlier this year, Johnson essentially admitted he is trying to skirt around the NBA’s tampering rules.

“We gonna say hi because we know each other,” Johnson said of 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.

It seems unlikely that the Lakers will face serious sanctions, but Magic should probably be more careful going forward.

Yardbarker: NBA

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