The NBA fined the Los Angeles Lakers $500,000 on Thursday (Aug. 31) for violating the league’s anti-tampering rule.
This comes after the NBA found that Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka had contact with Paul George’s agent after the team had already been warned, reports ESPN.
In a statement, the NBA said 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.
An investigation was conducted by an independent law firm, after the Pacers filed tampering charges.
Under league rules, teams are prohibiting from interfering with other teams’ contractual relationships with NBA players. They’re not allowed to publicly expressing interest in a player who is currently under contract or inform that player’s agent of your franchise’s interest.
The NBA warned the Lakers about tampering rules back in April, following Lakers president Magic Johnson’s nationally televised comments about George. Despite the warning, Pelinka made contact with George’s agent .
“We respect and accept the NBA’s decision regarding this matter,” Pelinka said in a statement. “On behalf of the Los Angeles Lakers, I want to express our regret over this unfortunate incident to both our fans and the NBA.”
George informed the Pacers in June that he planned to opt out of his contract in 2018 and intended to sign a free-agent deal with the Lakers. After, he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis over the summer.
The Lakers were facing the loss of draft picks, fines up to $5 million, future restrictions on acquiring George and possible suspensions for the tampering violation.