Monday Bolts: 8.21.17

The Pacers filed tampering charges against the Lakers in regard to Paul George: “If the league office’s probe can prove the Lakers were guilty of tampering with George while he was under contract with Indiana, Los Angeles can be punished in several ways, including a loss of draft picks, financial fines up to $5 million, future restrictions on acquiring George and possible suspensions of offending officials.”

Magic Johnson is at the center of the NBA’s investigation: “A nudge-nudge, wink-wink filled interview on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in April is bound to attract the attention of investigators. Johnson acknowledged to Kimmel in the interview that he’d like to get George but added that, you know, talking about that would be wrong…“We going to 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?’ ”

Kevin O’Connor says we need to stop pretending the NBA cares about tampering: “The NBA tampering rules are a complete joke. July 1 being marked as the start of free agency is nothing but a formality. You and I know it because we read the news: Players fly across the country for meetings scheduled for 12:01 a.m. and agree to contracts within minutes. Players recruit each other on social media. The way this often works is agents “indirectly” backchannel information from one party to another.”

Thunder exec Michael Winger is expected to be the Clippers’ next GM: “Winger, an assistant GM/team counsel for the Thunder, would report directly to Lawrence Frank, the Clippers’ new president of basketball operations. Winger, 37, has spent the past seven years with Oklahoma City, working closely with executive vice president and GM Sam Presti. He has developed a reputation as one of the league’s most respected young executives.”

Russell Westbrook won the NBPA MVP: “NBA players agree that Russell Westbrook is the Most Valuable Player for the 2016-17 season. The National Basketball Players Association released the results of the players’ votes for 14 individual awards and Teammate of the Year for 30 teams for the 2016-17 season. Awards were given during the 2017 Players Voice Awards announced via Twitter on Friday. Oklahoma City’s Westbrook, who was voted MVP by the media in June, also won “Hardest to Guard” and “Best Dressed” by the players.”

Berry Tramel on why the pressure is now on Billy Donovan: “On the last day of the fiscal year, the Thunder general manager traded for Paul George, and suddenly OKC was back in the saddle. Not riding astride the Warriors, but capable of keeping pace with any of the league’s other 28 teams. And the pressure has jumped, from Presti to Donovan. The Thunder again has the horses to do great things, and it’s Donovan’s job to make that happen.”

Erik Horne caught up with Anthony Morrow: “In nine NBA seasons, Morrow has played for seven teams, but he never spent more time in one city than the three years he played for the Thunder. It’s why Morrow said his father was excited to come back. It’s why when Enes Kanter was stuck in Europe with a canceled passport earlier this summer, Morrow texted his “little brother.” It’s why when Morrow was traded to a rebuilding franchise, he kept one eye on Russell Westbrook — not just his run to the MVP Award, but his friend’s run to fatherhood.”

The interview that may doom Magic Johnson & the Lakers: