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NBA news: Former GM — ‘If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying’

Paul George, Thunder

The whole Paul George saga of this summer was unusual from start to finish. The story started with reports coming out that George was not happy. Many team names were thrown around, yet the absolute outsider, the Oklahoma City Thunder, managed to snatch the All-Star forward from Indiana. To make things weirder, the package received for the reportedly unhappy star was without picks and with two mediocre-at-best talents.

However, the saga did not end there. About a month ago, the Pacers asked for a formal investigation by the league about a possible tampering violation by the Los Angeles Lakers. As NBA rules state, teams cannot contact players that are under contract with other NBA franchises. However, it was suspected that the Lakers partly caused the whole drama.

After a short investigation, the Lakers were found guilty and were fined $500,000 by the league. However, this is a small fine to pay for a huge franchise like the Lakers, and it probably will not make them or anyone else change their ways. Tampering with players under contract is a known thing and it happens each season.

As one anonymous former GM said, courtesy of Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher, this is a huge part of a GM’s tactic to get a certain player.

“If you’re not cheating by the letter of the law,” says the former GM, “you’re not trying.”

In all honesty, it is very easy to notice that there is tampering. One current Eastern Conference GM stated to Bleacher Report that the biggest hint teams are contacting players even before their contract is up is the speed of the announcement of deals when the free agency period opens.

“How many names flash across the ticker two hours after midnight saying they’ve agreed to a four-year, $64 million deal?” the current GM says. “You think that was negotiated in 10 minutes? If you’re an agent and you wait until July 1 to find out what your client’s options are, you’re going to get fired. You’ll be sitting there while your client’s options are falling off the table.”