The NBA has launched a probe into tampering between Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and league All-Star Paul George.
According to ESPN, the investigation stems from tampering charges filed by the Indiana Pacers with the NBA against the Lakers. The franchise is denying the allegations, and insist that there’s no evidence of tampering.
They also expect to be cleared of any wrongdoing in the probe.
“As the NBA’s statement made clear, we cannot comment about the specifics of any ongoing investigation,” the Lakers said in a statement. “We can confirm, however, that we are cooperating fully with the NBA in the hope of clearing our name as soon as possible.”
If the Lakers are found the be guilty of tampering with the four-time All-Star while he was under contract with the Pacers, they can be punished in a variety of ways including, the loss of draft picks, a $5 million fine and possible suspensions of offending officials.
George could also be prohibited from signing a free-agent deal with the Lakers or being part of a trade to the franchise if the NBA finds that Los Angeles officials engaged in a side deal with him.
Teams are prohibited from contacting players or their agents to talk deals unless it’s after July 1, the opening of the players’ free-agency year.
The Pacers’ allegations are synonymous with a growing concern among many teams in the association who believe potential suitors are reaching out to players and agents outside of the given time frame.