The Los Angeles Lakers were recently accused of tampering with former Indiana Pacers star Paul George and the result of it was the Lakers being fined $500,000, which is the largest fine in NBA history for tampering.
The reason for the fine was a conversation that Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka had with George’s agent after the Lakers had already been warned when president of basketball operations Magic Johnson made some comments on Jimmy Kimmel Live about winking at George if he saw him on vacation.
Johnson took full responsibility for the incident, offering to pay the fine himself and apologizing to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and Laker fans.
He would speak again about the accusations though on Tuesday morning when he appeared on ESPN’s Coast to Coast with Cari Champion, and he again took responsibility saying that he crossed the line:
“I feel good about what we’ve been doing with the Lakers. I knew in my heart that we had tampered with him but at the same time we were warned, we did cross a line that we shouldn’t have crossed so Adam Silver did his job. I take full responsibility because I’m the president of basketball. This happened on my watch, it doesn’t affect Jeanie Buss she’s been an excellent boss, I love her to death, I love working for her.”
“On the Jimmy Kimmel Show it was late night TV so I was having fun. But I knew that we could not do that and so that was all on me I take responsibility for that.”
He also added that while he offered to pay the fine himself, the league would not allow him to do that:
“We took the fine. I was willing to pay it myself, I told Jeanie that she didn’t have to pay it but league rules are when they fine a team the team has to pay it, I can’t pay it as an individual.”
Now that the investigation has been concluded and the Lakers punishment has been given out, they can now focus on this season and beyond. Johnson put together a very formidable roster for the upcoming season so the Lakers should improve on their 26-56 record from last season.
They also own the cap space to sign two max free agents next summer, so George, along with possibly LeBron James and Russell Westbrook will be in Johnson’s sights.