The Los Angeles Lakers were recently disciplined by the NBA for a tampering incident involving former Indiana Pacers All-Star Paul George.
The penalty, which was a $500,000 fine, was a result of general manager Rob Pelinka having a phone conversation with George’s agent after the Lakers had already been warned due to president of basketball operations Magic Johnson’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live when he joked that he would wink at George if he saw him on vacation.
At Lakers Media Day on Monday, Pelinka addressed the incident publicly for the first time and emphasized taking accountability and learning from the mistake.
“When you make an error of judgment or a mistake in life, the first thing you have to do is you have to take accountability for that and I have done that and Magic has done that. And then you have to learn from it, and you have to get better,” Pelinka said.
“The NBA sent a clear message, we heard what it is, and it’ll never happen here again because we’ve learned. And I think the third thing you do is you move forward. That’s the stage we’re in now. We move forward as an organization with a better understanding and just really excited training camp starting tomorrow and just what the future holds for this team.”
The mistake was a crucial one for the rookie front office duo, but they were lucky that the only consequence was a fine as it could’ve resulted in the loss of draft picks or the inability to sign George when he becomes a free agent in 2018.
The important thing is exactly what Pelinka said, that they learned from the mistake and won’t make it again in the future. Now that the incident is behind them the Lakers front office could now look forward to the 2017-18 season and next summer.
In the summer of 2018, the Lakers will hold the cap space to sign two max free agents, with George, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, among others, in their sights. So it will be interesting to see if Johnson and Pelinka are able to convince one or two of them to join the Lakers young core of players which would immediately put the Lakers back in championship contention.