NBA Looking Into Possible Rules Violation Over Contact Between Lakers and Ben Simmons
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the league office is investigating whether contact between the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons violated any NBA rules.
While speaking with reporters in Philadelphia Sunday, Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson revealed that Simmons’ team reached out to him about getting together in the summer. Johnson made it clear that no such meeting would occur without approval from the 76ers, Lakers, and the league first.
"[Simmons] reached out to me, not to me directly; to the Lakers to find out if we can get together this summer," Johnson said. "I said, 'Hey, you've got to clear that with the league,' and if everybody -- the Sixers sign off, we 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."
Amid concerns of some questionable behavior between Simmons and Magic, the Lakers released a statement Monday to clear up how their potential meeting came to be. "To clarify, last November the 76ers sent an email to the Lakers asking if Ben Simmons would be able to speak with Magic Johnson about his Hall of Fame playing career," the statement reads. "After receiving the email request from the 76ers, Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka contacted 76ers General Manager Elton Brand and informed him that Magic could only do so if the 76ers gave him pre-written approval. That was the end of the matter."
On Monday, 76ers general manager Elton Brand claims that he informed Magic of his decision to not sign off on Simmons working out with him “over a month ago.” Brand sees Simmons’ desire to meet with Johnson as a young, up-and-coming talent looking to speak with "some of the game's all-time greats," and gain some knowledge in the process. "No issue," he 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."