NBA Ben Simmons Magic Johnson tampering verdict: 76ers apologise
The NBA says Los Angeles Lakers president Magic Johnson did not break any league tampering rules when he spoke about Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons earlier this week.
The NBA’s relatively quick-moving investigation was initiated after it was revealed that Simmons wanted to meet with Johnson to talk about the art of being an elite point guard. Johnson complimented Simmons publicly on Sunday.
“I love his game. I love his vision,” Johnson said.
But since that was in response to a media inquiry, the NBA says Johnson was permitted to make such comments.
“We have concluded that Magic Johnson’s statements regarding Ben Simmons do not constitute a tampering violation,” the league said in a statement.
“The Philadelphia 76ers initiated the contact with the Los Angeles Lakers by requesting a meeting between Johnson and Simmons. Both organisations 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.”
The Lakers have been previously fined for tampering violations twice since 2017, those violations costing the team a combined $550,000.
The NBA’s verdict comes after 76ers boss Elton Brand was forced to apologise to Johnson and the Lakers for making misleading comments in a radio interview where he appeared to suggest it was Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka who called him out of the blue to request permission to speak to the Aussie.
In an interview with 97.5 The Fanatic on Tuesday (AEDT) Brand said: “Rob Pelinka called me and said that Ben wanted to talk to Hall of Famers after the season
“Magic was on the list. He asked for authorisation… I said no.”
Elton Brand called Magic Johnson Monday afternoon to apologize for insinuating that the Lakers had called —unprompted— to ask permission for Johnson to speak with Sixers forward Ben Simmons in a radio interview Monday morning, league sources told ESPN.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 12, 2019
Wow! If this is the case Elton Brand and the 76ers completely misrepresented the truth. But Magic has been blurring the lines on the strength he is Magic, an NBA legend. Pay attention to how Michael Jordan stays in the background and very little to say about otehr players. https://t.co/sK7QmMXUnC
— Terrance Harris (@TerranceHarris) February 12, 2019
The Lakers then released a statement of their own to set the record straight that the 76ers initiated the conversations.
“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,” The Lakers said in a statement.
“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.”
Originally published as Weird apology in Simmons-Lakers verdict