For the second time in less than a year, the Los Angeles Lakers are being fined for tampering with another player. This time, the Lakers are being fined for comments made by president of basketball operations Magic Johnson about Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
NBA’s statement on Lakers fine pic.twitter.com/U656fc26e8
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixYS) February 6, 2018
The “media interview in question” was with ESPN, in which Johnson heaped praise on Antetokounmpo.
“I’m just happy he’s starting in the All-Star game because he deserves that,” Johnson said, per ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “And he’s going to be like an MVP, a champion, this dude he’s going to put Milwaukee on the map. And I think he’s going to bring them a championship one day.”
In August, the Lakers were fined $500,000 for comments general manager Rob Pelinka made about Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George, when he was still with the Indiana Pacers.
Obviously, this fine isn’t as severe. Johnson isn’t necessarily plotting for Antetokounmpo to come to Los Angeles with these comments. Still, it would probably be best if he erred on the side of caution for as long as he remains in the Lakers front office.