AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThere is jeopardy here for the Lakers, who could lose draft picks. Although it’s far-fetched, they could even be banned from signing George when he hits free agency next summer. A majority of NBA owners would stand on chairs to applaud that.In 2013 the Atlanta Hawks were fined when an employee e-mailed season ticket holders about the exciting prospect of signing Chris Paul and/or Dwight Howard, who weren’t available yet. Same thing happened when then-Kings coach Michael Malone said Chris Paul “would look pretty good in a Sacramento Kings uniform.” As if anyone does.The Miami Heat was fined $1 million and had to hand over a first-round pick to New York when it tampered with Pat Riley. But the NBA allowed Miami to hire Riley, who has provided three championships.The all-time tamper tantrum came from Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner, who was admittedly knee-walking at a 1976 World Series party when he told Giants owner Robert Lurie that he would give outfielder Gary Matthews “more money than you’ll take in next year.” Turner was suspended for a season by Bowie Kuhn, but the suspension was reduced, and Atlanta kept Matthews.In this case, the trail of blood might lead to Magic Johnson’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show on April 19, when Kimmel brought up the names of George and Chris Paul. “I wish I could talk about all of those guys,” Johnson said.“But that would be contract tampering, right?” Kimmel asked.When Kimmel asked Johnson what might happen if he randomly encountered George, Magic said he would speak “because we know each other.”Then he said, “I can’t say I want you come to the Lakers, even though I’ll be doing this” and started wink-winking.That was a big laugh line, of course, and if you watch the video you wonder if the NBA office should maybe take up meditation or soft-tissue massage or other chill-out activities. This did not rise to the level of corporate raiding.Magic probably shouldn’t have commented, but there was a live audience and Kimmel is a friend and a large Laker fan.But Magic could have left such comments to Brandon Ingram or Julius Randle or another Laker, even the league prohibits tampering by any “representative” of the organization.That speed limit is broken nearly every day.Sports Illustrated recounts the aftermath of the 2016 Finals, in which the Warriors’ Draymond Green sat at his locker and made a recruiting pitch to Kevin Durant, via text. Actually he just reinforced the pitch he had already made.“I’m ready,” Durant replied. A month later he signed with Golden State.LeBron James and Chris Bosh did not make independent decisions to join Dwyane Wade in Miami, seven years ago..Sometimes there is dis-tampering, as in the current boilover in Cleveland. According to Cleveland Scene magazine, Kyrie Irving decided to cast his line elsewhere when he was told James was advocating trading Irving to Phoenix for the No. 4 pick in the draft plus Eric Bledsoe, and then sending the pick to Indiana for George. If true, that means Irving was dis-tampered by his own teammate.And James, after he doggedly spun that heartwarming “homecoming” narrative three years ago, is positioning himself to leave Cleveland in 2018.Irving no longer wants the sidekick life, but he was so stifled by James that he averaged 19.7 field goal attempts last season. More than James, more than anybody but Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis and DeMar DeRozan.Now he wants to abandon a season of near-guaranteed success.NBA stars have become barons, looking for property to oversee. It’s more about branding than bonding. When Westbrook can take 24 shots a game and play, unapologetically, for triple doubles on a sixth-seeded team and still win MVP, you see that the ethos has seeped into the bleachers and the press room.The priorities are power and manipulation. If winning follows, fine.So Golden State, San Antonio and Boston will have little immediate competition. They are geared toward communal success. As they showed when they dealt D’Angelo Russell and drafted Lonzo Ball, the Lakers are, too.If Magic did anything wrong, it was guilt by Association. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Tampering is an NBA problem, no doubt. Particularly when the tamperers and tamperees are one and the same.Paul George made it known, through the many media outlets and “industry sources” at his and his agent’s disposal, that he wanted out of Indiana and into Staples Center. His contract doesn’t end until next year.So now the NBA is investigating the Lakers for getting too public about George.This has become the definition of tampering, apparently. You might as well punish an ostrich for burying his head.