It was no secret that the LA Lakers were interested in superstar Paul George. George himself has been vocal in his desire to play in Southern California. This open interest from both parties has stirred controversy and has opened up an investigation with the Lakers for possibly tampering with the former Pacers superstar.
NBA insider first reported the investigation on Patreon last Saturday.
NBA investigating Lakers 4 purported tampering w PGeorge. Independent law firm handling interviews of Buss, Magic. https://t.co/MnaPpaFUJh
— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) August 20, 2017
This report was confirmed by the NBA in a statement released by Mike Bass, Executive Vice President for Communications.
“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 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.”
The Lakers are working together with the NBA in this investigation based on their statement.
“As the NBA’s statement made clear, we cannot comment about the specifics of any ongoing investigation. We can confirm, however, that we are cooperating fully with the NBA in the hope of clearing our name as soon as possible.”
There are that have pointed to Magic Johnson referencing Paul George in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel.
Rumors are swirling in light of this investigation. There are several other circumstances that have come up wherein Lakers’ executives could have contacted George. Bobby Marks of ESPN went on ESPN LA radio and mentioned that the Pacers are looking specifically into a phone conversation that George had with Johnson.
— Allen Sliwa (@LakersTalk710) August 22, 2017
George moving to the Lakers is put on hold at least for the next few months. George was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder and will be teaming up with Russell Westbrook for the upcoming season. George is set to be a free agent in the summer of 2018 and he could possibly sign with the Lakers then.
If the investigation does implicate the Lakers in tampering with George, the NBA could levy heavy infractions to the franchise that could derail their rebuild.
Photo from USA Today