NBA clears Magic Johnson of tampering in Simmons situation

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Feb 13 2019 07:42 AM

The NBA has determined there were no tampering violations committed by Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson regarding potentially speaking with Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons.

"We have concluded that Magic Johnson's statements regarding Ben Simmons do not constitute a tampering violation," the league's statement began. "The Philadelphia 76ers initiated the contact with the Los Angeles Lakers by requesting a meeting between Johnson and Simmons.

"Both organizations ultimately concluded that such a meeting did not make sense at this time but in that context, Johnson's response to a media inquiry regarding Simmons does not run afoul of league rules."

According to published reports, 76ers general manager Elton Brand called Johnson on Monday to apologize for making it sound during a radio interview as if the Lakers had called unprompted to seek permission for Johnson to speak to Simmons.

It turned out that a member of the Philadelphia organization began the communication by contacting Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.

The situation began because Simmons wanted to sit down with Johnson to discuss being a big point guard in the NBA.

The Lakers have been fined twice by the NBA for tampering since Johnson has been in charge. And although there has been no talk of the Lakers pursuing Simmons -- he doesn't become a restricted free agent until 2020 -- eyes could be raised if he and Johnson got together.

The 22-year-old Simmons is represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. He represents both LeBron James and Anthony Davis, whom the Lakers tried to acquire before the trade deadline last week.

Brand reiterated to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that he is not worried the Lakers are trying to snatch his young star.

"No issue. I have a great relationship with Ben and Rich (Paul) and we expect him to be a Sixer for a long time," Brand said. "He has taken interest in chatting with some of the game's all-time greats and we're supportive. I had brief dialogue with Rob Pelinka who I've known for a long time, but nothing is planned. Our collective focus is on making a postseason push. Again, we're not sweating this, end of story."

--Field Level Media

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