The NBA came down on the Los Angeles Lakers for “tampering” with Paul George, and Magic Johnson wants to pay for it.
The Lakers were just hit with the highest tampering charge fine in league history. L.A.’s meddling with ex-Indiana Pacers’ Paul George cost them a whopping $500,000. Although the fine seemed more like an appeasement of the NBA’s small market owners rather than a severe punishment, the Laker organization is taking it seriously.
Immediately following the findings of the NBA’s investigation against them, L.A. released statements addressing the issue, which included General Manager Rob Pelinka.
Adam Streisand: “The Lakers organization is pleased that this thorough investigation has been brought to a close – and we can assure the fans that the Lakers will be hyper-vigilant going forward to make sure this is never an issue again.”
Rob Pelinka: “We respect and accept the NBA’s decision regarding this matter. On behalf of the Los Angeles Lakers, I want to express our regret over this unfortunate incident to both our fans and the NBA.”
Although no actual evidence was found against the Lakers and the fine was only issued due to phone conversations Pelinka had with George’s agent, President of Basketball operations Magic Johnson feels responsible for the fine and wants Jeanie Buss to take the fine from his salary.
According to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times, Magic said:
“We can’t say a lot but we will correct the situation,” Johnson said Monday. “It’s under my watch. I apologize to Jeanie, and that was the main thing. I told her she could take it out of my salary because I don’t want the Lakers to be paying that fine. … I don’t want her spending $500,000, because she didn’t do anything. That’s on me.”
There is no official word on whether Jeanie Buss will take Magic up on his offer or not but as an organization worth $3 billion, they can certainly afford the fine.
However, Johnson recognizes his part in the matter and wants to take responsibility for it, which is a noble move.
No matter how L.A. pays the tampering fine, the franchise as a whole is looking forward to putting the entire situation behind them.
*Except for Paul George of course.