It all ties back to Philadelphia’s All-Star Ben Simmons wanting to sit down and pick the brain of Lakers president Magic Johnson. Which from a purely basketball point of view makes a lot of sense — Magic is the best big guard ever to play the game, and Simmons could learn from him. The problem is Simmons is a player under contract (one Philadelphia plans to max out after his rookie deal) and Magic is the president of the Lakers. There could be tampering.
This is the Lakers’ statement on how things went down.
However, in a radio interview Sixers GM Elton Brand said “[Lakers GM] Rob Pelinka called me and said, “Hey, we’re hearing Ben wants to talk to Hall of Famers, championship-level players, and Magic’s on the list. We need authorization for him to meet up. And I said no. This was over a month ago.”
So who called whom first? That is part of what the NBA is investigating.
However, Brand called Pelinka to apologize for planting the idea the Lakers started this process, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
If — and that’s a big “if” — things went down the way the Lakers are spinning this, there should be no tampering. Johnson didn’t meet with or recruit Simmons.
But maybe Magic should just not bring up the names of other teams’ players in his press conferences for a while.