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NBA Investigating Lakers for Tampering with Paul George After Formal Complaint from Pacers
Everybody knows Paul George wants to play for his hometown Lakers. Everybody knows the Lakers want Paul George to play for them. However, the NBA has strict rules about what and when teams can say to or about players currently under contract with other teams. And now the league is investigating whether Lakers president Magic Johnson has broken these rules.
On Sunday the NBA confirmed that they have hired a law firm to investigate the Lakers’ contact with Paul George after the Indiana Pacers filed a former tampering complaint.
“At the request of the Indiana Pacers, the NBA opened an investigation into alleged tampering by the Los Angeles Lakers,” reads the league’s press release. “The independent investigation is being conducted by the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. The Lakers have been cooperative and, at this point, no findings have been made. We have asked both teams to refrain from commenting while the investigation is ongoing.”
If the investigation turns up evidence that the lakers have had improper contact with Paul George—whom the Pacers eventually traded to Oklahoma City—the penalties could be severe. The Lakers could face loss of draft picks, fines of up to $5 million, suspensions of team officials, or restrictions on future negotiations with George.
The Lakers can’t officially comment on the allegations at this time. However, according to ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, they are confident they will be exonerated.
Even if the Lakers avoid penalties, however, this investigation could bring about some important changes. According to Wojnarowski and Shelburne, league sources say the Pacers’ complaint represents a growing concern that some teams are reaching out to players with a few years left on their deals in hopes of manipulating opt-outs or trades.
Hat Tip – [Yahoo Sports]