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The NBA is investigating a possible tampering violation by the Los Angeles Lakers regarding Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons.
NBA spokesman Mike Bass told ESPN on Monday that, “The league office is looking into whether any contact took place between Ben Simmons and the Los Angeles Lakers that violated NBA rules.”
76ers general manager Elton Brand told ESPN Simmons has no intention of working out with Lakers president Magic Johnson, adding he simply wanted the 76ers to help him facilitate “chatting with some of the game’s all-time greats.”
“No issue,” Brand said. “I have a great relationship with Ben and [his agent] Rich [Paul] and we expect him to be a Sixer for a long time. He has taken interest in chatting with some of the game’s all-time greats and we’re supportive.
“I had brief dialogue with [Lakers general manager] Rob Pelinka, who I’ve known for a long time, but nothing is planned. Our collective focus is on making a postseason push.
“Again, we’re not sweating this — end of story.”
Johnson told reporters Sunday at the Lakers’ game at Philadelphia that Simmons “reached out to me, not to me directly, to the Lakers to find out if we can get together this summer.
“I said, ‘Hey, you’ve got to clear that with the league,’ and if everybody — the Sixers sign off, the league signs off… fine, I will do that. But I love his game. I love his vision. I love also, too, he’s very, in terms of basketball IQ, very high basketball IQ.”
The Lakers have recent history in regard to tampering. The NBA fined them $500,000 for violating anti-tampering rules in 2017 when Pelinka was discovered to have violated NBA rules in his dealings with Paul George and his agent.
Los Angeles was fined $50,000 in 2018 after Johnson’s comments made about Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Lakers recently attempted to trade for New Orleans Pelicans standout Anthony Davis, who is represented by Paul of Klutch Sports, the same agency that represents LeBron James of the Lakers.
Paul and Klutch Sports also represent Simmons.