Elton Brand apologized to Magic Johnson for comments in a radio interview about Ben Simmons, and an NBA investigation found no wrongdoing.
Just because the NBA trade deadline is over doesn’t mean there isn’t still some drama in the NBA.
Sixers general manager Elton Brand apologized Monday to Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson for insinuating in a radio interview that Johnson had tried to talk to the 76ers’ Ben Simmons unprompted.
“[Lakers GM] Rob Pelinka called me and said that Ben wanted to talk to Hall of Famers after the season. Magic was on the list. He asked for authorization … I said no,” Brand said on Philadelphia’s 97.5 The Fanatic (via ESPN).
The NBA began an investigation into whether the Lakers had done anything wrong, and the Lakers released a statement after Brand’s comments, clarifying L.A.’s request for Johnson to speak to Simmons.
“To clarify, last November the 76ers sent an email to the Lakers asking if Ben Simmons would be able to speak with Magic Johnson about his Hall of Fame playing career,” the Lakers statement read. “After receiving the email request from the 76ers, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka contacted 76ers general manager Elton Brand and informed him that Magic could only do so if the 76ers gave him pre-written approval. That was the end of the matter.”
A 76ers spokesperson sent an email during the offseason, at the behest of Simmons’ brothers, to ask the Lakers for Johnson to speak with Simmons, according to ESPN.
Brand says he apologized to Johnson on Monday for the comments made in the radio interview. Brand said he also took the time to smooth things over with Pelinka.
“No issue,” Brand told ESPN. “I have a great relationship with Ben and [his agent] 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.”
The NBA on Tuesday afternoon issued a statement in which it said its investigation found no wrongdoing regarding the potential contact between Johnson and Simmons:
“We have concluded that Magic Johnson’s statements regarding Ben Simmons do not constitute a tampering violation. The Philadelphia 76ers initiated the contact with the Los Angeles Lakers by requesting a meeting between Johnson and Simmons. Both organizations ultimately concluded that such a meeting did not make sense at this time but in that context, Johnson’s response to a media inquiry regarding Simmons does not run afoul of league rules.”