The NBA is investigating the Los Angeles Lakers for tampering in their recruitment of hometown star Paul George.
Silver Screen and Roll reports the Indiana Pacers, George’s now former team, formally filed charges with the league earlier this summer and several sources are now reporting one of the L.A. execs league officials plan to speak with is Lakers’ legend Magic Johnson.
The Pacers have since dealt George to the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he is expected to form one of the league’s most potent tandems playing alongside league MVP Russell Westbrook.
As for the Lakers, reports are Johnson, team president Jeanie Buss, and GM Rob Pelinka are all being asked to speak with an independent law firm that is formally handling the investigation for the league.
Johnson now serves as president of basketball operations for the Lakers.
Meanwhile, it’s a case of business as usual for George, who ESPN reports has already started working out with Westbrook after forcing the Pacers’ hand by demanding a trade soon after the 2017 season.
After years of struggling and following the recent retirement of longtime star Kobe Bryant, the Lakers appear back on the radar as one of the league’s hottest destinations with the re-installation of Johnson as the face of the franchise.
The team also nabbed hotshot guard Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick in the most recent NBA Draft after landing the versatile Brandon Ingram the summer before.
ESPN reports the team recently sold out all of its remaining games for next season. Ball did little to dampen bubbling enthusiasm heralding his arrival by starring in summer league play. His recent summer league showdown against this year’s top pick, Markelle Fultz, and the Philadelphia 76ers attracted an audience of 1.1 million and the league’s five largest summer league audiences all involved the Lakers.
“Laker fans should be excited,” Johnson boasted at Ball’s introductory press conference. “We’re back.”
Meanwhile, Ingram scored in double figures in 16 of his last 17 games last season after accomplishing that just 19 times in all the other games he played in over the entire season.
And the Lakers may not have completely given up on eventually landing George. The All-Star veteran can be a free agent after this season and may not be long for Oklahoma City.
Johnson played 13 NBA seasons, all with the Lakers, winning five NBA titles. The three-time league MVP and NBA Hall of Fame guard averaged 19.5 points and 12.3 assists over his career.
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