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Lakers deny Paul George tampering allegation, NBA confirms investigation at Pacers’ request

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The Lakers are officially under investigation.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers are “adamantly denying charges” from the Indiana Pacers that they tampered with superstar Paul George, reports Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

The Pacers have contacted the league in order to initiate a probe centered around “impermissible contact” between Magic Johnson and Paul George. There were numerous rumors leading up to the moment that the Pacers finally traded George that the California-native had a return home to lead the Lakers circled on his agenda. The NBA has since confirmed that they are opening an investigation, telling the Washington Post an independent investigation was being conducted.

That led to George’s value on the trade market to diminish significantly, teams less-willing to trade high-value assets for a player that seemingly has a clear plan to join the Lakers in the summer of 2018 in play. Indiana settled on a trade package including Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

It’s unclear what evidence the Pacers may or may not have, but this situation may take some time to unfold. Here’s what could be on the line for the Lakers, via ESPN:

If the league office's probe can prove the Lakers were guilty of tampering with George while under contract with Indiana, Los Angeles can be punished in several ways, including a loss of draft picks, financial fines up to $5 million, future restrictions on acquiring George and possible suspensions of offending officials.

The Lakers “expect to be cleared” in this probe, according to ESPN’s report, so we’ll see what comes to light from the NBA’s investigation.