News broke today that the Los Angeles Lakers were fined $500,000 for tampering with Paul George, formerly of the Indiana Pacers and now a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The fine was imposed based on a conversation that took place between Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka and George’s agent. The fine, the largest ever assessed for tampering, could have been has high as $5 million if evidence was discovered that there was an arrangement for George to join the Lakers after this season.
Here is my issue with the policy. It is perfectly acceptable for players to recruit others players who are under contract but it is not acceptable for teams to recruit players who are under contract. The policy needs to cover either both instances or neither.
This type of behavior is not condoned in the NFL, the NHL, or Major League Baseball. How the owners ever lost control of their sport is unfathomable. If you are going to fine a team for tampering then you should also fine players for tampering. One is not anymore unjust than the other. And, the point of the policy, I am guessing, is to prevent teams from gaining an unfair advantage and creating a super team. Oh, that’s right! That is what you have up there in the Bay Area but at least the nucleus of the team was built through the draft. Kevin Durant was only the missing piece.
It will be interesting to follow this season what player(s) recruits Lebron and who Lebron recruits to join him to form the next super team. Will it be LA? Will it be San Antonio? Will he return to South Beach? The Lebron watch has begun and all that is wrong with the NBA begins another chapter.