Heading into a summer that could net the Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James, Paul George and potentially more big names beyond them, the last thing the organization needs is extra-close attention from the league offices. NBA commissioner Adam Silver says they don’t have to worry about that, though.
This, via Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times:
Adam Silver says he is not paying closer attention to the Lakers free agency dealings given their tampering problems this season. Says they violated the rules, paid the price and “we’ve moved on.”— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) June 25, 2018
Given what’s at stake, this bit of news should absolutely be music to Lakers fans’ ears. Just imagine finding out that the pursuit of James, George and any other combination of superstars was derailed because Silver and the rest of the league office was holding the Lakers to a higher standard than the rest of the NBA. I don’t know if a franchise could recover from that kind of thing.
As it currently stands, the Lakers are by far the odds-on favorites to sign James when free agency begins in just over a week. George has been reportedly hell-bent (in two separate reports) to find his way to Los Angeles for upwards of two years now and might finally get his wish. Kawhi Leonard is demanding a trade to L.A. and reportedly prefers the Lakers to the Clippers (honest who wouldn’t). And that’s before you get to the role players who would willingly take less to play for the Lakers alongside those stars.
All those things coming undone because Magic Johnson once responded to a question by saying that the Milwaukee Bucks would win multiple championships because of how talented Giannis Antetokounmpo is would be too much to bear.
So, it’s great to hear that Rob Pelinka, Magic Johnson and Jeanie Buss have a playing field cleared of extra obstacles by which to accomplish their lofty goals this offseason. It’s tough enough to convince stars to sign in free agency without extra concerns coming from the stress of extra attention from “the man.” Plus, who needs to tamper when your pitch is already leaked to the media?
Now, all that’s left to do is the hard part. Actually signing these guys. Fair and square, we promise, NBA.