The NBA says it has opened an investigation whether the Los Angeles Lakers tampered with All-Star forward Paul George while he was under contract with the Indiana Pacers.
The following statement has been issued by Mike Bass, Executive Vice President, 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.”
Lakers President Magic Johnson made these comments on Jimmy Kimmel live months before the team was allowed to talk to George.
“We’re going to say hi because we know each other,” Johnson said. “You just can’t say, ‘Hey, I want you come to the Lakers,’ even though I’m going to be wink-winking. You know what that means, right?”
Penalties could include the suspension of the offending person, team fines of up to $5 million, loss of draft picks and the loss of Paul George to the franchise.
George will be a free agent in 2018.