NBA News & Notes: Lakers fined for tampering, Cavs-Celtics trade finally complete

September 1, 2017

In this week's latest NBA news, the league office gave a slap-on-the-wrist penalty to the Lakers for their alleged tampering with former Pacers forward Paul George, and the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas deal has finally been completed after Thomas' physical examination raised concerns with the Cavs . . .

Lakers fined for tampering with Paul George

The NBA announced this past week that it has fined the Los Angeles Lakers $500,000 for violating the league’s anti-tampering rule with former Indiana Pacers forward Paul George.  Considering that past league penalties for tampering incidents have involved the loss of multiple first round picks, fines, and suspensions, one can infer that the league viewed this case as a minor transgression.

The Pacers complained to the league about the Lakers after George, a Southern California kid, expressed his desire to play in the future for his hometown team.  That prompted Lakers legend and current team Basketball Operations boss Magic Johnson on April 20, 2017, to joke on a national television talk show that he might send a covert recruiting message to George.

Magic, who knew George personally before being hired for his new front office job, clearly made a tongue in cheek statement, but the league nevertheless treated the matter seriously and conducted an independent investigation using the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen, and Katz.  It also previously warned Magic about tampering after his appearance on the show.

According to a league press release, "The investigation did not reveal evidence of an agreement or understanding that the Lakers would sign or acquire Mr. George."

The fine in this instance related to communications by Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka with the agent representing Paul George.  Pelinka's conduct "constituted a prohibited expression of interest in the player while he was under contract," according to the NBA.

The penalty also reflected a previous warning issued by the NBA to the Lakers regarding tampering, following the television comments made by Lakers President of Basketball Operations Earvin Johnson.

Los Angeles Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka issued the following statement regarding the NBA’s tampering investigation:
“We respect and accept the NBA’s decision regarding this matter. On behalf of the Los Angeles Lakers, I want to express our regret over this unfortunate incident to both our fans and the NBA.”

George has since been traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The NBA’s anti-tampering rule prohibits teams from interfering with other teams’ contractual relationships with NBA players, including by publicly expressing interest in a player who is currently under contract with another team or informing the agent of another team’s player of interest by one’s own team in that player.

Cavs and Celtics finally complete trade

After a week of bickering over whether Isaiah Thomas' hip injury made him damaged goods, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics this week jointly announced the following regarding an amendment to their trade:
"In conjunction with finalizing the trade involving Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and a 2018 1st round pick the Celtics acquired via Brooklyn, the Celtics and Cavaliers have agreed to modify the terms of the trade such that Boston will also send Miami's 2020 2nd round pick to Cleveland. The trade is now complete."
In other words, the Cavs ended up with an extra second round pick, which is nice, but did not receive one of the extra young players on the Celtics roster that they were reportedly seeking.  Still, the deal turned out to be a nice haul for the Cavs new rookie GM.

Cavs withdraw from arena project

The Cleveland Cavaliers announced the cancellation of their participation in The Q Transformation Project of the publicly-owned Quicken Loans Arena.

Construction on the $140 million publicly-owned facility project was to have started this past June, but had been delayed due to a prospective referendum being placed on the ballot by the Washington, DC-based Metro Industrial Areas Foundation represented locally by a group calling themselves the “Greater Cleveland Congregations” (GCC), Service Employees International Union District 1199, and the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus.

The public/private partnership was to be funded with $70 million of private capital contributed by the Cavaliers organization and an additional $70 million in public funding was to be generated primarily by a portion of the existing Admission Tax of every ticket sold to every event at The Q from 2023-2034 and a portion of the existing Cuyahoga County Bed Tax which is paid predominantly by visitors from outside of the County, many of which are attending events at The Q, as well as other sources either directly generated or largely impacted by The Q. The Cavaliers had also committed to covering any and all construction cost overruns on the project.

In addition, the City’s General Fund would have received matching funds equal to the revenue collected from the Admission Tax generated for use in The Q Transformation project.  

There were no new or increased taxes related to this project.

The Cavaliers organization will no longer participate in the partnership formed for The Q Transformation project and the need for a referendum no longer exists.

Mavs sign Nerlens Noel

The Dallas Mavericks announced that they have signed center Nerlens Noel.

Noel (6-11, 220), who was acquired by the Mavericks from the Philadelphia 76ers in a trade-deadline deal on Feb. 23, averaged 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.1 blocks and 21.9 minutes in 22 games (12 starts) with Dallas last year.

For the 2016-17 season, Noel posted averages of 8.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.3 steals, 1.0 block and 20.5 minutes in 51 games (19 starts) with Philadelphia and Dallas.

The three-year veteran out of Kentucky holds career averages of 10.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.5 blocks and 27.6 minutes in 193 games (152 starts) with the Sixers and the Mavericks. He has shot 51.1 percent from the floor for his career.

A native of Malden, Mass., Noel was originally selected by the New Orleans Pelicans with the sixth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. His rights were later traded to Philadelphia along with a future first-round pick in exchange for Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson.

As a rookie in 2014-15, Noel averaged 9.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.9 blocks and 30.8 minutes per game in 75 games (71 starts) while garnering NBA All-Rookie First Team honors.

In his lone season at Kentucky (2012-13), Noel averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 2.1 steals, 4.4 blocks and 31.9 minutes en route to earning First Team All-SEC, SEC Defensive Player of the Year and SEC Rookie of the Year honors. On Jan. 29, 2013, Noel set the UK single-game record with 12 blocked shots in a victory over No. 16 Ole Miss.

Noel suffered a torn ACL in a game against the Florida Gators on Feb. 12, 2013, ending his 2012-13 season. Despite the injury, Noel declared for the 2013 NBA Draft following his freshman year. He missed the entire 2013-14 NBA season recovering from knee surgery.

Hall of Fame announces 2017 ceremony presenters

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the list of Hall of Famers who will present this year’s class at the 2017 Enshrinement Ceremony. The special event will be held Friday, September 8th at Springfield Symphony Hall.

Members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2017 were asked to select a previous inductee to accompany and present them to their peers. The choice is solely the decision of the incoming Hall of Famers and those selected as Presenters consider it a great honor to be chosen. More than 50 Hall of Famers are expected to be in attendance for this year’s ceremony, including Larry Bird, Reggie Miller, Nancy Lieberman, and Isiah Thomas.

The Class of 2017 inductees include all-time winningest boys high school coach Robert Hughes, WNBA icon and ESPN Analyst Rebecca Lobo, two-time NBA scoring champion Tracy McGrady, three-time Consensus National College Coach of the Year from Notre Dame Muffet McGraw, and two-time AP College Coach of the Year Bill Self.

Distinguished committees focused on preserving all areas from the game also selected George McGinnis from the Veterans Committee, Nick Galis from the International Committee, Zack Clayton from the Early African American Pioneers Committee, and Mannie Jackson, Tom Jernstedt and Jerry Krause from the Contributor Committee.

2017 Inductees and Presenters

  • Zack Clayton, presented by Earl Monroe (‘90)
  • Nick Galis, presented by Bob McAdoo (‘00)
  • Robert Hughes, presented by Sheryl Swoopes (‘16)
  • Mannie Jackson, presented by Jerry Colangelo (‘04), Lynette Woodard (‘04), Russ Granik (‘13)
  • Tom Jernstedt, present by John Havlicek (‘84), Ann Meyers (‘93), Geno Auriemma (‘06)
  • Jerry Krause, presented by Jerry Reinsdorf (‘16)
  • Rebecca Lobo, presented by Geno Auriemma (‘06)
  • George McGinnis, presented Artis Gilmore (‘11), Reggie Miller (‘12), Bobby Leonard (‘14), Spencer Haywood (‘15)
  • Muffet McGraw, presented by Ann Meyers (‘93)
  • Tracy McGrady, presented by Isiah Thomas (‘00)
  • Bill Self, presented by Larry Brown (‘02)

By Staff of and news services

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