The National Basketball Association has fined the Los Angeles Lakers organization and their general manager Rob Pelinka $500,000 for violating the league’s anti-tampering rule after Pelinka made contact with Paul George‘s agent after being told not to.

In an investigation conducted by independent law firm, Watchell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, found that Pelinka’s contact with George’s agent “constituted a prohibited expression of interest in the player while he was under contract” with the Indiana Pacers. The investigation started after the Pacers filed tampering charges.

By league rules, teams are not allowed to publicly express interest in a player if that player is under contract with another team. Expressing interest to the player’s agent is not allowed either.

The Laker’s had previously toed the line when their president of basketball operations Magic Johnson made televised comments about acquiring George in April.

Pelinka and the Laker’s organization both made statements regarding the fine.

“We respect and accept the NBA’s decision regarding this matter,” Pelinka said. “On behalf of the Los Angeles Lakers, I want to express our regret over this unfortunate incident to both our fans and the NBA.”

Per team representative Adam Streisand, the organization expressed a similar regret. “The Lakers organization is pleased that his 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”

All in all, the Laker’s punishment was on the low side of what could have been exorbitant fine of up to $5 million. Additionally, they could have lost draft picks, or had restrictions put on any future attempts to sign George.

George expressed interest in going to Los Angeles earlier this year while with the Pacers. Soon after, he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 2017-2018 season. He will become a free agent by the end of next season.


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