After the Los Angeles Lakers have been handed a $500,000 fine for tampering superstar Paul George, the team’s president of basketball operations Magic Johnson has offered to pay it. Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times has obtained Johnson’s statement who said:
“We can’t say a lot but we will correct the situation. It’s under my watch. I apologize to Jeanie, and that was the main thing. I told her she could take it out of my salary because I don’t want the Lakers to be paying that fine. … I don’t want her spending $500,000 because she didn’t do anything. That’s on me.“
Lakers received a $500,000 fine last week after NBA investigation showed that Lakers GM Rob Pelinka contacted the agent of Paul George and violated league’s anti-tampering rule by doing so. Lakers were previously warned by NBA after Magic Johnson made certain comments on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Johnson said that he would “wink at Paul George” if he would saw him on vacation and George would know what that means.
NBA began the investigation after tampering charges were filed by Indiana Pacers. Following the charges, LA Lakers released an official statement denying the accusations in full. They were in danger of losing draft picks and being banned from signing Paul George in the future, so the $500K fine isn’t that bad.
According to numerous sources and Paul George himself, Los Angeles Lakers are George’s preferred team once he enters free agency next summer. Lakers were reluctant to make a trade with the Pacers, hoping George won’t change his mind and that they will be able to sign him for free. After being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, George said that his comments about the Lakers were exaggerated and that he would be crazy to leave Oklahoma if the team shows potential to win an NBA title soon.