Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne today reported that the NBA is investigating the Lakers and Magic Johnson for potentially having engaged in improper contact with Paul George while he was under contract with the Pacers. The investigation follows charges being formally filed by the Indiana Pacers.
This is a real thing, with real potential consequences:
If the league office’s probe can prove the Lakers were guilty of tampering with George while under contract with Indiana, Los Angeles can be punished in several ways, including a loss of draft picks, financial fines up to $5 million, future restrictions on acquiring George and possible suspensions of offending officials.
The rules say teams can’t recruit or discuss future plans with players under contract until after July 1, the date beyond which free agents become, well, free agents. George has a whole season left under his current contract, so contact with the Lakers about his 2018 free agency any time prior to next July 1 would be impermissible.* George informed the Pacers of his intent to leave Indiana via free agency way back in mid-June—if at any point prior to that he discussed with Magic Johnson his plan to eventually wind up in Los Angeles, the Pacers might have a case! On the other hand, it’s hard to know just how such charges could be proven—presumably, whichever Lakers higher-up might’ve encouraged George to hightail it out of Indiana wouldn’t be dumb enough to do it, like, in writing.
Hey, speaking of Lakers higher-ups and the word “dumb,” here’s Peter Vecsey, who first reported Indiana’s allegations last night:
Say it ain’t so, Magic!