NBA investigating possibility of tampering between Lakers and Paul George.
The Indiana Pacers have reportedly filed tampering charges with the NBA against the Los Angeles Lakers, stemming from the possibility of impermissible contact between Lakers president of basketball operations, Magic Johnson, and former Pacrers' All-Star Paul George.
According to ESPN, team officials are not allowed to make contact with players or their agents to discuss future plans unless it's after the opening of the players' free-agency year on July 1st. The league issued a statement on Sunday saying that an investigation is underway.
The Lakers released the following statement, per ESPN,
"As the NBA's statement made clear, we cannot comment about the specifics of any ongoing investigation," the Lakers said in a statement. "We can confirm, however, that we are cooperating fully with the NBA in the hope of clearing our name as soon as possible."
As of now, it is unclear whether any evidence exists that could incriminate Magic or the Lakers but there are multiple penalties that the team could face.
If the investigation can prove that the Lakers tampered with George while he was still under contract with Indiana, they could potentially lose some draft picks, face fines up to $5 million, possible future restrictions on acquiring Paul George and even suspensions of offending officials.
George was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder this off-season as the Pacers attempted to get value in return for the 4x All-Star before he left as a free agent at the end of the 2017-18 NBA season. Having grown up in California and played his college ball at Fresno State, rumors suggest George ultimately wants to sign with the Lakers, but he could be prohibited from signing a deal with Magic's squad, or being part of a trade to the Lakers, depending on the results of the NBA's tampering investigation.
George, 27, will be eligible for a four-year $130 million max contract when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next Summer and the Los Angeles Lakers have already begun the process of freeing up cap space to pursue both he and LeBron James after the 2017-18 season.