On Thursday, Los Angeles Lakers received a $500K fine from the NBA after Lakers’ GM Rob Pelinka violated league’s anti-tampering rule and contacted the agent of Paul George. This has been confirmed by the Lakers themselves, with Pelinka and the team’s outside counsel, Adam Streisand giving their official statements about the matter.
“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.“- said Pelinka.
“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 hyper-vigilant going forward to make sure this is never an issue again.” – added Streisand.
The investigation showed that Pelinka contacted George’s agent which “constituted a prohibited expression of interest in the player while he was under contract“. The contact was made after the Lakers were previously warned about their actions.
More than a week ago, NBA officially began an investigation following the alleged tampering of Paul George by the Lakers. The investigation was a result of tampering charges filed by Pacers against the Lakers. Although Los Angeles Lakers were quick to deny the accusations, it looks like they were definitely trying to get George to LA by using dirty tactics. The fine of $500K is really nothing compared to other possible sanctions Lakers could have faced, including suspensions, draft picks losses and being unable to sign Paul George in the future.
Having a one year of his contract with the Pacers left, George publicly stated he will not sign an extension and is aiming to become a member of Los Angeles Lakers. This could be one of the reasons why the Lakers didn’t try to trade for George, seeing him become a member of Oklahoma City Thunder. Lakers may end up getting George for free, but they could also miss out completely on him if George and Westbrook’s tandem proves to be successful.