With the start of NBA free agency on the horizon, plenty of eyes will be on the Los Angeles Lakers and what they do. The franchise has grand plans of adding big names this summer, but have to be very careful about how they go about doing business.
The Lakers have already been fined twice in the last calendar year for tampering. Though one was rather dubious at best, stemming from president of basketball operations Magic Johnson simply complimenting Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. Meanwhile, first fine came when the league found improper communication between general manager Rob Pelinka and the agent for Paul George.
With these incidents so fresh in everyone’s minds, some may have believed that the NBA would be keeping a very close eye on the Lakers. However, commissioner Adam Silver insisted that the league and the Lakers have moved on, via Tania Ganguli of the LA Times:
“The Lakers were found to have violated the rules,” Silver said. “They paid a price for it and we’ve all moved on.”
Johnson and Lakers controlling owner Jeanie Buss reportedly called a meeting to warn front office personnel of potential tampering charges.
That price for tampering a heavy one, especially for the first incident. While the comments about Antetokounmpo produced just a $50,000 fine, the Lakers were fined a record $500,000 for the illegal contact between Pelinka and George’s agent.
Of course, George is one of the main free agency targets of the Lakers as well as other teams this summer. George has proven himself to be one of the league’s best two-way players, and is a native of Palmdale, Calif. Despite that, he might very well re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
With the previous incidents behind them and George appearing unlikely to come home, the Lakers’ focus presumably will lie square on LeBron James.
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