Los Angeles Lakers Earn Penalty When NBA Fines Them $500K

The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced this week that following an investigation, it has fined the Los Angeles Lakers $500,000 for violating the NBA’s anti-tampering rule.

The investigation found that the Lakers’ general manager Rob Pelinka expressed interest in All-Star Indiana Pacer forward Paul George while George was still under contract with his former team. This violates the NBA’s anti-tampering rules because it is prohibited to express interest in a player while he is still under contract. The punishment comes after the NBA had already warned the Lakers about tampering following the Lakers’ president ,Magic Johnson’s, nationally televised comments about George on April 20 while on Jimmy Kimmel. On the talk show, Johnson openly talked about recruiting other players, including George.

After this incident, the Indiana Pacers requested an investigation into possible tampering. Before the investigation started the NBA released this official statement: “at the request of the Indiana Pacers, the NBA opened an investigation into alleged tampering by the Los Angeles Lakers. The independent investigation is being conduct by the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. The Lakers have been cooperative and, at this point, no findings have been made.”

In a statement, Pelinka said “we respect and accept the NBA’s decision regarding this matter. On behalf of the Los Angeles Lakers, I want to express our regret over this unfortunate incident to both our fans and the NBA.” The Lakers’ outside counsel, Adam Strisand, also issued a statement and said “the Lakers organization is pleased that this thorough investigation has been brought to a close—and we can assure the fans that the Lakers will be hypervigilant going forward to make sure this is never an issue again.”

The possible penalties the Lakers could have faced included a loss of draft picks, fines up to $5 million, future restrictions on acquiring George as a player, and possible suspensions of offending officials. But the $500,000 is the largest fine in NBA history for breaking anti-tampering rules.

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