Did the Los Angeles Lakers communicate with Paul George or his agent Aaron Mintz in a way that measures up to the NBA’s standard for tampering?
I have no idea, but the Pacers believe so.
Here is what we do know:
- Somehow or another Mintz and his client came to the conclusion that George would leave the Pacers for the Lakers when his contract expires in 2018.
- The rest of the NBA learned that George planned to leave for the Lakers, and the result for the Pacers was an evisceration of his trade value.
My hope is that the NBA connects enough dots to conclude that the Lakers tampered and that part of the punishment is that they are prohibited from signing the all-star forward.
At some point, self-important brands who play basketball need the world to rise up and recalibrate their way-too-generous self-immersion, and maybe that moment has come for George.
It’s not that I dislike George or resent his desire to play for his hometown team. I don’t. He’s a nice guy, who through surrounding himself with yes-men has come to the conclusion that he belongs among elite company and has acceded to a position of incredible global importance because he is good at basketball.
Justice occasionally demands a recalibration of priorities, and I hope that the best laid and possible illegal plans of the Lakers and George have opened a window far enough to allow for one.
Rules don’t count for self-important professional athletes very often, but every once in awhile a ruling is issued that reminds sports franchises they are businesses and that stars are human beings first and brands second.
Hopefully, this is one of those times.
Kent Sterling hosts the fastest growing sportstalk show in Indianapolis on CBS Sports 1430 every weekday from 3p-7p, and writes about Indiana sports at kentsterling.com.