The NBA will consider whether the league rules were broken when Ben Simmons of Philadelphia asked if he had met Magic Johnson, president of the Los Angeles Lakers, for game tips.
League spokesman Mike Bass said Monday that the NBA will look into the matter. Johnson revealed over the weekend that Simmons had expressed a wish to meet, through an intermediary, and that he would be willing to participate in such a meeting with the 76ers' watchman if all parties involved gave permission.
76ers general manager Elton Brand, however, told the Philadelphia radio station WPEN that when the request was made about a month ago he declined the offer. According to Brand, he was introduced by members of Simmons' inner circle as a way for the rookie of last season to raise his game by learning from several big names, and Johnson's name was on their list.
The brand also told the radio station that Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka had asked if such a meeting could take place.
"Rob Pelinka called me and said," Hey, we hear that Ben wants to talk to the Hall of Fame, the championship level players and Magic's on the roster. We need an authorization for it to end up, "Brand told the radio station. "And I said no, it's over a month ago, so I said no. … We did not approve what they were talking about. "
The Lakers responded Monday by saying that the notion of meeting between Simmons and Johnson had been mentioned for the first time in November in an email. The Lakers also confirmed that Pelinka had contacted Brand.
"It was the end of the bargain," the Lakers said in a statement.
Johnson said Sunday that when Simmons decided to meet indirectly, he said that the NBA, the 76ers and the Lakers should all approve of such a meeting before they can organize one.
"If everyone does not sign, then we will not be able to meet," said Johnson.
Brand told the station that he might be willing to allow the meeting if he was present.
The NBA takes fraud handling issues very seriously recently, and the Lakers have already been on the league's radar. Last year, they were fined $ 50,000 when Johnson commented on ESPN's Milwaukee star, Giannis Antetokounmpo. And in 2017, the Lakers were fined $ 500,000 when the league discovered that Pelinka was contacting Paul George's agent while George was with the Indiana Pacers.
Like Simmons, Johnson was taller than most leaders. Johnson is 6-foot-9, Simmons is 6-10.
"I love his game. I love his vision," Johnson said Sunday. "I also like IQ for basketball … he has a very high IQ for basketball. And look at it now. The East is better to pay attention.
Simmons told Johnson later Sunday: "Learning from someone like that would be huge."
The brand did not seem worried that Simmons had the slightest desire to change teams quickly.
"He's really happy here in Philadelphia," Brand told the radio station.
Simmons is represented by Rich Paul, the agent who also represents the Lakers star, LeBron James, among others.
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