Magic Hasn't Ruled Out Tampering Charge

Orlando Magic officials said Thursday that they might file tampering charges against the Lakers in the signing of Shaquille O'Neal.

O'Neal, the Magic's franchise player, became a free agent at 2 p.m. PDT on July 11, and NBA teams, other than Orlando, were forbidden to negotiate with him or agent Leonard Armato before that moment.

"We're going to review the entire negotiating process for him," said John Gabriel, the Magic's vice president for basketball operations and player personnel. "No, we haven't ruled out [a tampering complaint]."

Such a charge, if proved, could cost the Lakers up to a $5-million fine and could result in their contract with O'Neal being voided.

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