Magic Johnson and Lakers Management face NBA-led probe for alleged improper contact with Thunder forward Paul George:
Prior to an OKC trade, Los Angeles-native George and Magic Johnson voiced mutual GM-Player interest following the Pacers’ first-round playoff elimination vs. Cleveland.
The crux of these communications includes George expressing his desire to play for LAL through his agent after stating he would not return to Indiana following the 2018 season. The alleged tampering centers around comments made by Johnson during an April Jimmy Kimmel Live appearance:
“We (Paul George-Johnson) going to say hi because we know each other, you just can’t say, ‘Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,’ even though I’ll be wink-winking like, ‘You know what that means, right?’ ”
As Indiana lobbed tampering charges against Johnson, Jeannie Buss, and Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, Magic’s loose-tongued candor could land his franchise in serious trouble with Adam Silver and the league’s front office.
If charged with violating article 35 of the NBA’s Constitution and Bylaws regarding tampering, punishment could include: suspensions, transferal of draft picks from Los Angeles to Indiana, and (or) a $50,000 fine.
Per Peter Vescey and Adrian Wojnarwoski, the NBA has contracted the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to conduct an independent investigation into the matter.
“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.”
While any form of player recruitment is deemed illegal, the NBA rarely punishes in these instances, as seen by Draymond Green’s summer 16’ communications with former-Thunder Kevin Durant.
However, league executives, such as Johnson are held to a stricter code. A code Johnson ironically addressed on his Kimmel appearance, per the Washington Post:
“I had to go to school. I had to go to CBA [collective bargaining agreement] school, salary cap school and tampering school. You can’t tamper with somebody else’s player.”
Amid this scenario are the still-circulating rumors that George could bolt from OKC after one season and join Los Angeles next summer via free-agency.
From his league-wide peers Westbrook earned ‘Players Voice’ awards including: NBA MVP, Best-Dressed, and Hardest to Guard.
Once a dual GM/Coach for the Los Angeles Clippers, Doc Rivers was stripped recently of his General Manager title following six-consecutive failed attempts to reach the Conference Finals.
With Rivers out, reportedly Clippers brass have offered longtime OKC Assistant GM Michael Winger its General Manager position.
A role, per Adrian Wojnarwoski, the 37-year-old Winger is expected to accept.
Before ascending the NBA’s executive ranks with Oklahoma City, Winger spent five years alongside Danny Ferry in Cleveland. Doc Rivers will remain as the Clippers’ Head Coach.