The NBA is investigating whether the Los Angeles Lakers tampered with Paul George when he was still on the Indiana Pacers roster.
The Indiana Pacers asked the NBA to investigate the Los Angeles Lakers for allegedly tampering with Paul George, Peter Vecsey is reporting.
All of this comes two months after Paul George informed the Pacers he wouldn’t return after next season when his contract expires. While Indiana was trying to get as much as they could for their former star, PG’s camp didn’t help when they revealed the player’s plans to sign with the Lakers as a free agent.
Now, George or his indicating that he wants to join the Laker likely isn’t enough for a tampering case. However, Magic Johnson joking with Jimmy Kimmel about the idea of a “wink-wink” situation makes it harder for Los Angeles to pretend absolutely nothing ever happened.
That moment in the video above isn’t a smoking gun, by any means. But considering the certainty of the rumors that pointed to Los Angeles for some time now — and well before this summer — it doesn’t help the Lakers build their defense.
The question is whether there was substantial communication between the Lakers and Paul George or anyone around him.
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When Indiana began shopping George, news broke of him not wanting to agree to extend his current contract with any team but the Lakers. That was either leaked by his camp or by someone around the Lakers hoping to create a situation where the Pacers were forced to send their former franchise player to the Lakers. That was a real possibility at one point.
All of this should at least should raise some eyebrows. But raised eyebrows don’t mean tampering and they don’t guarantee Indiana will get anything from this investigation. For all we know this is a fishing expedition by Indiana more than anything else.
As far as tampering, I’m very ambivalent about the concept and what Indiana might get from a successful claim. But it is in the Pacers best interest to press the NBA to investigate the situation.