Ahead of a free agency period that might land the Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard or some combination of those names (and potentially more, who knows at this point), Magic Johnson and Jeanie Buss are making absolutely sure they don’t mess things up for themselves.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN broke the story.
The Los Angeles Lakers recently called an organizational meeting warning all employees about possible tampering ahead of a free agent signing period in which they are expected to play a key role, with the ability to sign two superstars, sources with knowledge of the meeting told ESPN.
Lakers co-owner and governor Jeanie Buss called the meeting, which was led by president of basketball operations Magic Johnson.
That’s pretty rich, considering it was Magic himself who landed the Lakers the second of their two fines this season for mentioning another team’s player (the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo). Shelburne continues.
Sources said Johnson spoke to a large group of team employees, warning them about tampering.
Other employees received written notices on the matter that referenced possible termination as punishment for anyone who does not adhere to NBA rules.
On its face, this is a great public relations move — leaking knowledge of this meeting so the league offices know how seriously they are taking things. Still, it’s hard not to notice that the person telling everyone in this meeting or receiving the team-wide memo to do as he says, not as he did.
Granted, Johnson's fine was an almost objectively ridiculous punishment for answering a question and predicting that Antetokounmpo would win a different franchise multiple titles. Still, the league is looking for anything resembling foul play with these Lakers, and there’s simply too much at stake not to take these risks absolutely seriously.