Lakers fined $500000 for Paul George tampering, largest-ever penalty of its kind

Magic Johnson’s comments to Jimmy Kimmel about Paul George drew scrutiny. (Nick Ut/AP)

The Los Angeles Lakers are going to have to pay for their interest in star forward Paul George.

After an independent investigation, the NBA announced Thursday that it has fined the team $500,000 for tampering in communications centered around George coming home to his native L.A. when he becomes a free agent next summer. Teams are not allowed to reach out to or discuss players under contract with other teams. George was with the Indiana Pacers until earlier this summer when he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

While the investigation reportedly initially centered on Lakers President Magic Johnson, the NBA memo first called out new GM Rob Pelinka for talking to Paul’s agent.

“The conduct at issue involved communications by Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka with the agent representing Paul George that constituted a prohibited expression of interest in the player while he was under contract,” the league’s announcement stated.

This spring, the Lakers, Johnson and George were hardly shy about expressing their mutual admiration. George, who is from the Los Angeles area, had his agent convey to the Pacers in June that he preferred to play for the Lakers and that he would not return to Indiana

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