Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson inadvertently facilitated the NBA launching an investigation due to his revealing that Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons inquired on a potential offseason meeting and workouts.
Despite Johnson making it clear in his remarks that the Lakers informed the 76ers of the contact, the league still sought to it to ensure there was not a tampering violation. It’s an aspect that’s put a cloud over the franchise since Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka took over in the front office.
Though, the NBA’s investigation was complete within one day, and the Lakers were cleared of any possible wrongdoing.
The incident still appeared to be fresh on Johnson’s mind as he declined to discuss Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker, via Carolina Blitz:
“You know I can’t answer any questions about no players, because every time I do it, I get fined. But anybody else do it, they don’t get fined. So I’m going to stay away from that one.”
Walker was named to a third consecutive All-Star Game, though this year’s selection comes with the added experience of representing the host city. While Johnson could have commended Walker for his season, that would’ve been the type of praise that previously put him in the league’s crosshairs.
Johnson championed rising star Giannis Antetokounmpo and predicted he would win a championship with the Milwaukee Bucks. The team used Johnson’s remarks in a social media post, yet he was still fined $50,000. NBA commissioner Adam Silver later explained it was a byproduct of the Lakers’ previous trouble.
While the league has seemingly granted the Lakers little leeway, Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry was recently fined $25,000 for comments made about Anthony Davis.
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