Lakers' Rob Pelinka softens language on 2018 free agency as he looks to move on from tampering

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said he is ready to move on from the $500,000 tampering fine assessed to the Lakers earlier this month.

“When you make an error of judgment or a mistake in life, the first thing you have to do is you have to take accountability for that,” Pelinka said, in his first comments about the incident. “I have done that, and Magic’s done that. And then you have to learn from it and you have to get better. I think we’ve committed as an organization, and I have too, to learn from that. The NBA sent a clear message. We heard what it is. It’ll never happen here again because we’ve learned.

“The third thing you do is you move forward. We’ve moved forward as an organization with a better understanding and just really excited about training camp starting tomorrow and what the future holds for this team.”

In its announcement, the league said the fine, which was their largest for tampering, stemmed from Pelinka’s offering a banned expression of interest to agent Aaron Mintz about his client Paul George. George was under contract with the Indiana Pacers, who requested the investigation, and since has been traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Mintz previously told the Pacers that George had planned to depart in free agency next summer and wanted to sign with the Lakers.

The Lakers have made no secret of their plans to sign multiple players to maximum contracts next summer in free agency. It is a summer during which LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and George all could declare as free agents.

And while in previous news conferences, Pelinka made clear the Lakers want to lure two superstars, on Monday his language softened when discussing how the Lakers will use the two maximum contract slots they plan to have available next summer.

“That we have that could be for two guys, could be for multiple guys, could be used to re-sign some of our own players,” he said. “We have the flexibility to keep the young core intact and then to build with the cap flexibility.”

Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli

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