Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers are fine.
The NBA ruled Tuesday that what the Lakers team president of basketball operations told reporters about the 76ers’ Ben Simmons on Sunday was not a tampering violation.
The Hall of Fame point-guard-turned-executive for his beloved Lakers said he would pass along tips for a big point guard to Simmons if the NBA signed off on it. The 6-foot-10 Simmons has been compared with Johnson, a 6-9 point guard who excelled at the position.
The NBA launched an investigation on Monday to determine whether league rules had been broken.
“We have concluded that Magic Johnson’s statements regarding Ben Simmons do not constitute a tampering violation,” the NBA said in a statement released by senior director Mark Broussard. “The Philadelphia 76ers initiated the contact with the Los Angeles Lakers by requesting a meeting between Johnson and Simmons.”
The NBA went to say that both teams ultimately concluded that a meeting didn’t make sense at this time. The league added that Johnson’s response to a media question regarding Simmons “does not run afoul of league rules.”
A Sixers official confirmed to the Inquirer that a Sixers team services representative, who has been identified as Allen Lumpkin, contacted a Lakers team services person in November regarding Simmons’ interest in chatting with some of the NBA greats in the offseason.
Simmons also expressed an interest in talking with Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson and Manu Ginobili, among others, according to the Sixers. The team does not believe this to be an issue of concern. There’s nothing scheduled at this time.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka reached out to Sixers GM Elton Brand more than a month ago about Simmons’ request. Brand told radio station WPEN-FM (97.5) on Monday that Pelinka “asked for authorization. ... I said no.”
Brand even apologized to Johnson for insinuating in the radio interview that Pelinka’s call about Simmons was unprompted. ESPN was the first to report the apology. The two, who have had a relationship for some time, had a good conversation and have no hard feelings.
Shake Milton had surgery to repair a fracture of the fourth metacarpal finger on his right hand Tuesday morning.
The sidelined Sixers two-way guard will be reevaluated in two to three weeks.
Milton suffered the injury during the Delaware Blue Coats’ G League game in Austin, Texas, on Feb. 5. Asif M. Ilyas, a hand specialist, performed the surgery at the Rothman Institute at Jefferson Hospital.
This is Milton’s third injury in two years and the second time he has suffered a broken hand in that time period. The 22-year-old suffered a season-ending broken right hand last season at SMU.
The Sixers drafted him with the 54th pick in the June draft. He missed the summer league with a stress fracture in his back. He suffered that injury during the pre-draft process.
Milton is known as a creative passer who excelled in transition at SMU. However, he really made his mark as a sharpshooter while playing with the Sixers.
Milton averaged 4.0 points and 9.7 minutes in 13 appearances with the Sixers. He has made 10 of 25 three-pointers for 40 percent. He has made 4-of-5 foul shots.
The 6-foot-6, 195-pounder averaged 18 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.4 steals in college. He scored in double-digits in all 22 games he played for SMU in his final season.
Milton, who played three seasons at SMU, was the American Athletic Conference preseason player of the year in 2017.
Sixers assistant coach John Bryant will serve as a Global coach in the fifth annual Basketball Without Borders, which will be held Friday through Sunday at the Queens University of Charlotte Levine Center for Wellness and Recreation in Charlotte, N.C. The camp is part of the NBA All-Star Weekend.
Sixty-three boys and girls from 31 countries and regions around the world will participate in the camp.