The Lakers won the Summer League title in Las Vegas, but couldn’t quite hit the jackpot with Paul George this summer.
In fact, they’re actually down $500,000 after the league concluded Thursday that Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka violated the NBA’s anti-tampering rule by illegally trying to recruit George to the team while George was still under contract.
“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 wrote in a press release announcing the fine.
The Lakers had received a warning about tampering with contract-bound players after Magic Johnson publicly expressed his interest in the Oklahoma City Thunder forward back in April on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
While the investigation did not reveal any agreement between George’s agent and the Lakers to sign with Los Angeles, the Lakers still have to pay up.
George, however, could still opt out of his deal with Oklahoma City and join another team when he becomes a free agency in 2018. While he is a native of southern California, he’s given no clear indication yet that he will play in Los Angeles next year.
George, a southern California native, was traded to OKC by the Pacers in July.