The NBA isn’t playing around when it comes to player moves and the chatter surrounding them.
LeBron came under fire after his comments about playing with Anthony Davis, and now the Lakers have come under the League’s microscope, again.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA has launched an investigation into whether potential contact between the Sixers’ Ben Simmons and the Lakers’ Magic Johnson violated league rules.
Sixers’ GM Elton Brand isn’t sweating it though, stating that his star player just wanted to pick the brain of the basketball legend.
“No issue,” said Brand to ESPN. “I have a great relationship with Ben and his agent Rich Paul and we expect him to be a Sixer for a long time. He has taken interest in chatting with some of the game’s all-time greats and we’re supportive.
“I had brief dialogue with [Lakers GM] 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.”
Brand comments were in response to NBA spokesman Mike Bass telling the worldwide leader on Monday that, “The league office is looking into whether any contact took place between Ben Simmons and the Los Angeles Lakers that violated NBA rules.”
The Lakers issued their own statement following Bass’ comments:
“To clarify, last November the 76ers sent an email to the Lakers asking if Ben Simmons would be able to speak with Magic Johnson about his Hall of Fame playing career,” it read. “After receiving the email request from the 76ers, Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka contacted 76ers General Manager Elton Brand and informed him that Magic could only do so if the 76ers gave him pre-written approval. That was the end of the matter.”
Magic and Simmons share similar basketball talents and physical traits, so reaching out the Hall of Famer isn’t that surprising. Magic felt the same way.
“[Simmons] reached out to me, not to me directly; to the Lakers to find out if we can get together this summer.” said Magic to reporters while the team was in Philly on Sunday. “I said, ‘Hey, you’ve got to clear that with the league,’ and if everybody — the Sixers sign off, we sign off, the league signs off — fine, I will do that. … But I love his game. I love his vision. I love also, too, he’s very, in terms of basketball IQ, very high basketball IQ.”
The League’s look into the situation isn’t surprising. The Lakers had been fined $500,000 in 2017 for violating anti-tampering rules in their dealing with Paul George and his agent. A year later the team was hit with a $50,000 fine for comments regarding Bucks’ star Giannis Antetokounmpo. As a result, the NBA isn’t playing around.
We’ll keep you updated on the situation as it unfolds.