NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Paul George Tampering and Nerlens Noel's Agent Change

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2017

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George answers a question at his first news conference since Oklahoma City's blockbuster trade with the Indiana Pacers, in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, July 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

We're deep into August, better known as the doldrums of the NBA calendar. Kyrie Irving set the rumor mill ablaze with his trade request late last month, but even that speculation has tampered down.

Irving is still a Cleveland Cavalier for the foreseeable future. There doesn't appear to be any trade on the horizon, and with September training camps edging closer, it's more likely than not that he'll start the season in Cleveland.

That said, there are at least some rumblings around the league of note. Here's a look at some new details emerging regarding the Paul George tampering case and Nerlens Noel's potential second change of agents in less than a year.     

        

NBA Investigating Magic Johnson for Tampering With Paul George

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 27:  Magic Johnson at Clayton Kershaw's 5th Annual Ping Pong 4 Purpose Celebrity Tournament at Dodger Stadium on July 27, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for Kershaw's Challenge )
Leon Bennett/Getty Images

The NBA confirmed it is investigating the Los Angeles Lakers for tampering with Paul George, at the request of the Indiana Pacers, on Sunday with a statement:

"At the request of the Indiana Pacers, the NBA opened an investigation into alleged tampering by the Los Angeles Lakers. The independent investigation is being conducted by the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. The Lakers have been cooperative and, at this point, no findings have been made.  We have asked both teams to refrain from commenting while the investigation is ongoing."

Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reported the investigation centers on potential improper contact between George and Lakers president Magic Johnson. Johnson's appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live in April was pretty blatant wink-wink tampering.

"No, we gonna say hi because we know each other, you just can't say, 'Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,' even though I'll be wink-winking like you know what that means, right?" Johnson said of winking several times.

George's trade request came in June. From a Pacers perspective, it's not hard to draw a through line here. It's also a bit of sour grapes and perhaps even bad blood from the team's perspective. Nothing Johnson did or said on television was going to influence George's decision to leave Indiana. The Pacers have no clear direction; he was gone next summer anyway.

What this might do is give the NBA an opportunity to address their tampering rules, which have been inconsistent. The league should look to either crack down completely on tampering or simply allow it; this weird middle ground where people can say some "things" but not everything is clearly not ideal.

       

Nerlens Noel Could Change Agents...Again

In December, Noel fired agent Andy Miller and signed with Happy Walters in hopes of landing a big contract as a restricted free agent this summer. As we approach September with Noel still looking at a qualifying offer as his best option, Noel could be looking to make a change again.

Newy Scruggs of NBC 5 in Dallas reported Noel is planning to leave Walters and sign with power agent Dan Fegan. Mike Fisher of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas followed up on that report to say Noel is only considering leaving Walters and that Fegan is not presently involved in any negotiations.

Rumors swirled that Fegan would be Noel's agent when he originally fired Miller. For whatever reason, that never came to fruition. Now that Noel's been stewing on the open market, perhaps he's changed his mind again and believes Fegan can hammer out a long-term deal.

Fegan and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban have a longstanding relationship, though it's not been as strong in recent years. The DeAndre Jordan and Chandler Parsons situations, particularly the former, are enough to shake even the strongest bonds.

But Fegan might wind up being Noel's best bet to negotiate a long-term deal in Dallas due to the familiarity between the agent and Cuban. 

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