Last week, we finally received a conclusion on the Indiana Pacers' request for the NBA to investigate the Los Angeles Lakers for potentially violating tampering regulations in regards to their communications with one of their former players, Paul George.
The league agreed to investigate the matter and their findings found that evidence of tampering was discovered, and fined the Lakers accordingly. The team was given a $500,000 fine, the largest fine the NBA has ever issued for tampering.
The NBA found evidence of communication between Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and George's agent that fell into the "prohibited expression of interest" category. The fine is also reflective of a warning that was already in place after Magic Johnson joked about tampering during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
It's arguably only a small price to pay considering what could have happened to the Lakers, but ultimately, the team's president of basketball operations has decided that he is the only one to blame for this situation.
Johnson said on Monday according to the Los Angeles Times that he doesn't want his close friend and boss, Jeanie Buss, to bear the burden of the fine. Therefore, he has decided to do a noble act and pay the fine himself.
“We can’t say a lot but we will correct the situation. 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.”
Johnson continued: “We’re going to have meetings about it next week. … I’m gonna always care about the Laker brand, the Laker fans, so I apologize to them as well. The main thing is we’re going to move forward.
"We got 95% everything’s going great. This is the one thing that went bad. … This is something we can correct. Adam [Silver, NBA commissioner] is a great friend of mine. I’m glad he was able to do his job. Now I’m gonna do my job.”
The Lakers will now look to move forward from this and learn from their mistakes. Good on Johnson for owning up to responsibility and paying the fine.