Attorneys for NBA rookie Zion Williamson seek to block …

Attorneys for NBA rookie Zion Williamson seek to block his former marketing agent’s effort to have the ex-Duke star answer questions about whether he received improper benefits before playing for the Blue Devils. In a Florida court filing last week, Williamson’s attorneys say those questions are “nothing more than a fishing expedition aimed at tarnishing Williamson’s reputation” and designed to “maximize potential embarrassment and media coverage in an attempt to improperly gain settlement leverage.”

More on Zion Williamson Lawsuit

Gina Ford’s attorneys had submitted questions this month asking whether the New Orleans Pelicans rookie or anyone on his behalf sought or accepted “money, benefits, favors or things of value” to sign with Duke. Those filings -- offering no evidence of wrongdoing by Williamson or his family -- sought answers within 30 days to establish facts under oath in the pretrial discovery process.
In North Carolina, agents who wish to represent athletes in marketing or contract negotiations are required to register with the state before they make contact with anyone who has amateur status. It is a relatively cheap and easy process. It costs $200 to submit an application, a paltry sum for those who are getting a cut of six- and seven-figure deals. The legal drama between Zion Williamson and Gina Ford, a marketing representative for Prime Sports, has brought this law, which is called the Uniform Athlete Agents Act, into focus.
Earlier this week, lawyers for Williamson asked a federal judge in North Carolina to declare an agreement between the former Duke star and Prime Sports void because Ford was not registered as an agent in the state while she was in contact with Williamson’s camp. Court documents show Ford was texting with Williamson’s mother, Sharonda Sampson, as early as January 2019, while Williamson was involved in ACC play.
In a motion filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Williamson's attorneys restated their argument that the NBA star's marketing agreement wasn't valid because Ford wasn't a registered agent in North Carolina, and the contract didn't include a warning that was required by a state law designed to protect amateur athletes from unscrupulous agents.
Darren Heitner: Zion Williamson has filed a motion for partial judgment on the pleadings in his federal court litigation against former marketing agents. Focus is on failure to register as an athlete agent & include requisite disclosures under NC's athlete agent law.

http://twitter.com/DarrenHeitner/status/1263179726744629260
Just after declaring for the draft, Williamson signed a contract with Ford, the president of Prime Sports Marketing, to handle his endorsement deals. No one argues that. There is a signed contract, as well as pictures of Ford with Williamson and Krzyzewski during a photoshoot for Slam magazine.
These rather explosive questions factor in because the lawyers argue that if they can prove Williamson was paid before or during his tenure at Duke, he would be ineligible and thereby no longer a student-athlete. “It doesn’t matter when the contract is entered into. If you’re no longer a student-athlete, the rules of the NCAA no longer apply,’’ Ford’s attorney Larry Strauss said. “The nuance is that this does not just apply to him. Any third party that acted as an agent, his parent or handlers, all of their actions can also affect eligibility.’’ Both parties have sought dismissal of the other’s case, but each has been denied.
Zion Williamson's lawsuit with Prime Sports Marketing's Gina Ford, his former agent, has taken an interesting twist. According to court papers published early Sunday afternoon by Wallach Legal, LLC founder and gaming law and sports betting attorney Daniel Wallach, Ford served Williamson with requests for admission that he received impermissible benefits to attend Duke and wear or use Nike or choose an Adidas-sponsored school.
Among the 11 bullet points from 5-15, the documents posted by Wallach shows a list of items alleging that he received "money, benefits, favors or others things of value" to sign with the Blue Devils for the 2018-19 college basketball season and wear or use the aforementioned brands. The served requests name Williamson and his mother and stepfather, Sharonda Sampson and Lee Anderson, and Ford is trying to make him say "yes or no" under oath regarding whether or not he accepted the impermissible benefits.
Storyline: Zion Williamson Lawsuit
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Gary Payton joining NBA staff?

Hall of Fame guard Gary Payton has not been shy about his desire to dive back into the NBA—as a coach. He told Yahoo! Sports last October that he had conversations about joining a coaching staff, “but the timing wasn’t right. I believe I now am ready to coach.” He did not, in the end, join a staff for this season, but now Payton says something is in the works and that could change shortly.
He didn’t name any teams, but Payton has said he would like to work with young players, and logical speculation would hold that he could land in Atlanta to mentor star guard Trae Young. Payton’s old teammate and close friend, Nate McMillan, took over the Hawks job after Lloyd Pierce was fired this week. Another possibility would be Detroit, where coach Dwane Casey is overseeing a rebuilding project with a slew of young players for the Pistons. Casey was an assistant coach for Payton’s great Supersonics teams in the 1990s.
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