The Los Angeles Lakers were recently accused by the Indiana Pacers of tampering with former Pacers All-Star Paul George as the Pacers believe that Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka had conversations with George and his agency about coming to Los Angeles when he is a free agent next summer.
Because of the accusation, the league began an investigation on Johnson, Pelinka and the rest of the organization looking to find any evidence possible.
If found guilty the possible consequences included fines, loss of draft picks and possibly not being able to sign or trade for George.
According to Shams Charania of The Vertical, the NBA has concluded their investigation and the result is a fine:
The Los Angeles Lakers have been fined $500,000 for violating anti-tampering rules.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 31, 2017
The league announced that the investigation did not reveal evidence of an agreement or understanding that the Lakers would sign or acquire George. The league still decided to fine them in part because of Pelinka’s contact with George’s agent Aaron Mintz, although Mintz also represents Lakers forward Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell, who was traded to the Brooklyn Nets this summer.
The penalty also reflected a previous warning issued to Johnson for his comments on the Jimmy Kimmel show regarding winking at George to come to the L.A. if he saw him on vacation.
While the fine is not ideal, the punishment could have been a lot worse so the front office has to be giving out a sigh of relief right now.
The Lakers have the cap space to sign two max free agents in 2018, and will now certainly have George in their sights as the Los Angeles native has already said that he plans to sign with the Lakers next summer.