Magic's praise of Giannis costs Lakers $50,000.
The NBA has fined the Los Angeles Lakers $50,000 for violating the league's anti-tampering rule. Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson was previously fined $500,000 for violating the same rule after a league investigation revealed that the Lakers had impermissible contact with Paul George while he was still under contract with the Indiana Pacers.
So what did Magic do this time to warrant a $50,000 fine? During a recent ESPN interview he praised Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo, and said that one day he'd lead the Bucks to an NBA title. That's it.
"Oh yeah," Johnson told ESPN when asked if he sees parallel between Antetokounmpo's play and his. "With his ball-handling skills and his passing ability. He plays above the rim; I never could do that. But in his understanding of the game, his basketball IQ, his creativity of shots for his teammates ... that's where we [have the] same thing. Can bring it down, make a pass, make a play.
"I'm just happy he's starting in the All-Star game because he deserves that. And he's going to be like an MVP, a champion. This dude, he's going to put Milwaukee on the map. And I think he's going to bring them a championship one day."
According to league rules, "Public comments made by a member of front office or coaching staff about a player on another team" is considered a form of tampering, thus the $50,000 fine that was handed down today.