Magic Johnson’s mouth continues to cause problems with the NBA and its anti-tampering rule, but he’s managed to avoid the Los Angeles Lakers being fined for his latest incident. The NBA released a statement on Tuesday saying that Johnson’s recent comments about a potential meeting between him and Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons did not reach the level of tampering. Here’s the full statement:
“We have concluded that Magic Johnson’s statements regarding Ben Simmons do not constitute a tampering violation. The Philadelphia 76ers initiated 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 the time but in that context, Johnson’s response to a media inquiry regarding Simmons does not run afoul of league rules.”
The meeting that never was
The whole kerfuffle started when Lakers president Magic Johnson talked about Ben Simmons before the Lakers lost to the Sixers on Sunday. He mentioned that Simmons contacted him about having a meeting over the summer to talk about being a big guy point guard in the NBA. Simmons wanted to talk to a number of Hall of Famers about improving his game, and Johnson was on the list.
Magic Johnson takes one last question and says Ben Simmons contacted the Lakers about getting together to learn from a fellow big guard. Magic said he’s game – as long as the league signs off.
Seems like a good time to mention Simmons is represented by Rich Paul and Klutch. pic.twitter.com/djgq9TOWNk
— Bill Oram (@billoram) February 10, 2019
Those comments are what caused the NBA to start looking into a violation of the anti-tampering rule. The next day, Sixers GM Elton Brand was asked about a possible meeting between Johnson and Simmons during a call-in to a radio show, and said that he’d put the kibosh on any meeting between the two.
"Rob Pelinka called me and said that Ben (Simmons) wanted to talk to Hall of Famers after the season, Magic was on the list. He asked for authorization… I said no. This was over a month ago." – Elton Brand shooting down the Ben/Magic meeting 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
— 975TheFanatic (@975TheFanatic) February 11, 2019
Of course, Simmons reached out to the Lakers first, which Brand had gotten wrong. Brand then reportedly apologized to Johnson for that mistake.
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