NBA Investigating If Lakers, Ben Simmons Potentially Violated League Rules

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2019

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons, of Australia, in action during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 143-120. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons was apparently looking for some tutoring from Los Angeles Lakers president Magic Johnson, but rules might have been broken in the process.

"The league office is looking into whether any contact took place between Ben Simmons and the Los Angeles Lakers that violated NBA rules," NBA spokesman Mike Bass said Monday, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Johnson said Sunday that Simmons reached out to the Lakers to see if the two could get together in the summer, via Bill Oram of The Athletic:

Philadelphia general manager Elton Brand said on 97.5 The Fanatic (via ESPN.com) on Monday that this took place more than a month ago and that he said no to the potential meetup.

Brand noted it wasn't a major issue in a statement to Wojnarowski:

"No issue. I have a great relationship with Ben and 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. I had brief dialogue with Rob Pelinka, who I've known for a long time, but nothing is planned. Our collective focus is on making a postseason push. Again, we're not sweating this, end of story."

ESPN's Ramona Shelburne attempted to further explain what happened:

Simmons—who is headed to his first All-Star Game this month—has one more year on his rookie contract after this season. Though the 76ers would love to lock him down for the long term, his agent, Paul, also represents LeBron James.

James traded for Simmons after the All-Star draft, dealing Russell Westbrook to Team Giannis.

Considering the Lakers star also drafted rumored Lakers trade target Anthony Davis as well as pending free agents Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson, it's easy to speculate about LeBron trying to lure Simmons to Los Angeles.

Johnson having a session with Simmons over the summer would apparently be too much for the NBA to allow.

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