Lakers Free Agent Rumors: Magic Johnson, Jeanie Buss Warn Employees About Tampering
Jeanie Buss, Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka
Allen Berezovsky-Getty Images

As the Los Angeles Lakers moved to clear salary cap space over the past two years, it was believed to be clear signal for their expected pursuit of superstar free agents. Namely, Paul George and LeBron James.

As it stands, the Lakers will have more cap room than any other team in free agency. As president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka have noted, that could be used to complete a significant trade as much as a signing.

With the 2018 NBA Draft beginning Thursday night, it’s possible trade activity will pick up. Free agency doesn’t begin until July 1, when teams are permitted to negotiate with free agents.

According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the Lakers held a meeting to ensure team employees are mindful of avoiding tampering:

Lakers co-owner and governor Jeanie Buss called the meeting, which was led by president of basketball operations Magic Johnson. Sources said Johnson spoke to a large group of team employees, warning them about tampering.

Other employees received written notices on the matter that referenced possible termination as punishment for anyone who does not adhere to NBA rules.

The Lakers have twice been fined for tampering since controlling owner Jeanie Buss installed Johnson and Pelinka at the helm of the front office.

The first was for a record $500,000 in August 2017 because an investigation found Pelinka had impermissible contact with George’s agent. Prior to that Johnson made public comments, albeit in a joking manner, during an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” about recruiting George.

Then in February of this year, the Lakers received a $50,000 fine for praise Johnson heaped on Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Although Johnson’s remarks were about what he believes Antetokounmpo will accomplish with the Bucks, NBA commissioner Adam Silver explained the Lakers were being watched more closely because of previous transgressions.

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