Magic Johnson offers to pay Los Angeles Lakers' $500K tampering fine

By The Sports Xchange  |  Sept. 5, 2017 at 9:57 PM
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Magic Johnson told the Los Angeles Times that he accepts full responsibility for the Lakers receiving a $500,000 tampering fine from the NBA last week.

In fact, Johnson -- who is the Lakers' president of basketball operations -- said he told owner Jeanie Buss to take the money out of his paycheck.

"It's under my watch," Johnson told the newspaper. "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."

The NBA issued the fine to the Lakers last Thursday for violating the league's anti-tampering rule after general manager Rob Pelinka was found to have had contact with All-Star forward Paul George's agent after the team had already been warned.

The Indiana Pacers filed formal tampering charges and the fine followed an investigation conducted by the independent law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

The fine also reflected a previous warning issued by the NBA to the Lakers regarding tampering, following comments made during an April 20 national television appearance by Johnson.

"This is just on a late-night show being funny," Johnson said. "But now I know I can't do that. We're OK. I haven't thought twice about it. We made a mistake. ... It's under my watch. I'm gonna make sure it doesn't happen anymore."

The league's anti-tampering rule prohibits teams from interfering with other clubs' contractual relationships with NBA players. This includes publicly expressing interest in a player who is currently under contract with another team or informing the agent of another team's player of interest by one's own team in that player.

The Pacers dealt George to the Oklahoma City Thunder on June 30 in exchange for guard Victor Oladipo and forward Domantas Sabonis.

George, who is from Palmdale, Calif., previously mentioned his admiration of Lakers legends Johnson and Kobe Bryant.

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