The Los Angeles Lakers were hit with a $500,000 fine by the NBA following the league’s Paul George tampering investigation. Officials indicated that the discovery of communication between Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and George’s agent led to evidence of a “prohibited expression of interest” from the purple and gold.
The fine is the largest ever ordered for a tampering finding, but ultimately is much-less severe than the “basketball-related” penalties the Lakers could have faced. For that, the franchise comes out mostly unscathed.
The tab the NBA left at the Lakers’ doorstep won’t be picked up by the franchise as a whole, though, if Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson has his way. He’s already informed Jeanie Buss his intention of paying the fine out of his own salary.
“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,” Johnson said Monday, according to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times.
It’s a nice gesture from Magic, who’s wink-wink moment regarding tampering with George while appearing as a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live led to a warning from the NBA in April. The league indicated that the fine following the investigative process was reflective of officials already needing to slap the Lakers on the wrist.