Monday, 10 December, 2018

National Basketball Association investigating Lakers for tampering with Paul George

4:52 | NBA         Give and Go What's the right move for the New York Knicks 4:52 | NBA Give and Go What's the right move for the New York Knicks
Frederick Owens | 21 August, 2017, 03:55

The Indiana Pacers filed tampering charges against the Los Angeles Lakers due to impermissible contact between Magic Johnson and Paul George.

The Pacers declined to comment when contacted by The Indianapolis Star on Sunday. On an episode of ESPN's The Jump last week, reporter Brian Windhorst said "the Lakers have all but put up a billboard announcing they want to sign" George. The league hired an outside firm to conduct the process.

When the veteran small forward previously made the Pacers aware of his intention to opt out of his contract with the Eastern Conference franchise, George reportedly told IN that his preferred landing spot was the heralded Lakers.

The Pacers were able to respond in kind and trade George to the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, ensuring they wouldn't lose him for essentially nothing in return.

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Johnson, a Hall of Famer and Lakers legend with longtime ties to the franchise, was named president of basketball operations in February, two days before the NBA's Feb. 23 trade deadline. Within an hour of an initial report about George's intentions to leave the team, Johnson tweeted "God is good!", which had fans, analysts and conspiracy theorists contemplating tampering. However, as of right now, no decision has been made upon findings at this point according to the league. The NBA is using the law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to probe the matter, the NBA said.

In that interview, Kimmel asked Johnson what constitutes tampering, and if he would be allowed to speak to George if they happened to cross paths. The Lakers have started to clear salary-cap space to pursue George and Cleveland's LeBron James in 2018 free agency.

"I wish I could talk about all those guys", said Johnson, who was quickly reminded by Kimmel it would be contract tampering to talk openly about those players.

"I had to go to school. You can't tamper with somebody else's player". George has repeatedly told media in Oklahoma City he is very excited to play with Russell Westbrook and would be potentially open to signing a long-term deal.

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