Ladies and gentleman, Magic Johnson is an innocent man. An investigation by the NBA confirmed that Lakers president of basketball operations Earvin “Magic” Johnson did not tamper with Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers, despite comments from Sixers general manager Elton Brand suggesting otherwise.
Here are the highlights from the press release:
NBA: "Sixers initiated contact w/ Lakers by requesting meeting between (Magic) Johnson and (Ben) Simmons. Both organizations ultimately concluded that such a meeting did not make sense...Johnson's response to a media inquiry regarding Simmons does not run afoul of league rules."— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 12, 2019
This Simmons-Lakers tampering probe was an easy one for NBA: Open and shut. Elton Brand made that clear yesterday: "No issue." https://t.co/rtlLD7tx7E— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 12, 2019
The NBA has decided Magic Johnson did not tamper, confirming details I reported yesterday afternoon. pic.twitter.com/tcHjbnVEyE— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) February 12, 2019
In fairness to Brand, he apologized for making it sound like Johnson just called out of the blue and set up a recruiting meeting with Simmons. At that point, it was clear that there would be no charges against either of the parties involved.
However, just in case there is any confusion as to why there was no tampering, let’s rewind go back a recap what happened, to the best of our knowledge:
- Ben Simmons had the idea of getting together with NBA legends in the offseason and picking their brain.
- Simmons’ brother recommended that he talk to Magic Johnson because he, too, was a big guard and a “lower level Sixers employee” sent an email to the Lakers, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
- The Lakers, more specifically general manager Rob Pelinka, spoke with Elton Brand and told them that they were fine with it as long as they were.
- Brand said no.
- The investigation concluded that were was no tampering involved.
Sounds, harmless, right? That’s because it is.
The only misstep Johnson made along the way was bringing up the fact that he was in contact with another team’s player when he had literally no reason to do so. That is what kicked off this whole needless firestorm. It’s like he can’t stop talking about tampering.
However, in this situation, he might have said it so casually because he genuinely didn’t see anything wrong with it, and the investigation by the league validated his feelings.
Does a tampering investigation look bad on their part? Sure, especially when you consider that they’ve been involved in a few already, but the fact that they weren’t charged with anything makes them look a whole lot better.
Perhaps the Lakers don’t win a championship this season, but they should strongly consider hanging a banner that says “Not fined for tampering” at Staples Center. It is one of the few positives to come from this season.