The complaint claims that the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers had interest in signing Noel as a free agent in recent offseasons. But Noel, allegedly, was unaware of the interest because Paul didn’t return calls from those teams. The suit alleges that former Sixers coach Brett Brown informed Noel of Philadelphia’s interest. If Brown agrees to provide his version of events on the record, it could have a significant impact on the case.
The National Basketball Players Association does not prohibit certified agents from contacting other certified agents' clients, a noted contrast to the NBA's tampering rules, prohibiting team executives from contacting rival teams' talent. That stance has frustrated many agents for years. And it's not just Paul. Sources told Bleacher Report that Victor Oladipo was influenced to leave longtime representative Aaron Turner of Versus Management for Excel Sports just before free agency this summer. Excel gave Oladipo the same sales pitch: a new agent can deliver more money than the previous one. In this case, like Noel's, they didn't deliver. Back in 2017, Robert Covington left his agent Chris Patrick (who helped land the two-way forward his first legitimate NBA stop in Philadelphia) for behemoth CAA Sports ahead of signing a four-year, $62 million deal.
The majority of league sources contacted by B/R do expect the union to settle some type of agreement between these two parties, being that a legitimate legal battle benefits neither Klutch nor Noel. For Noel to win $58 million in alleged lost salary, he would seemingly face a daunting uphill battle in a court of law. "The truth is Nerlens is not innocent in this," another agent said. "If you're silly enough to turn down that kind of money, that's not on Rich."
Noel, a 27-year-old center, alleges Paul then proceeded to provide little assistance in securing contracts and roster spots the following three seasons. "The minute you hit a minimum, it's very hard to go back," one veteran player representative said. That accept-the-qualifying-offer, bet-on-yourself tactic—in addition to client-poaching from other agents—has drawn ire from Paul's rivals in the agency world. To be fair, they are often guilty of the same activities; a significant portion of income for larger agencies is generated by poaching clients before a player's next lucrative deal.
The lawsuit claims Paul never informed Noel of Philadelphia's interest in bringing him back—that he later only heard the intel from coach Brett Brown, who said Philly's front office was unable to reach Paul. The 76ers, and the team's coaching staff in particular, were indeed interested in Noel before Philadelphia ultimately shifted its pricier sights onto Al Horford, sources confirmed to B/R.
Center Nerlens Noel still owes super agent Rich Paul for his Knicks’ contract, according to a grievance filed by his former rep. According to sources, Paul recently filed a grievance to the Players Association that Noel owes him $200,000 as commission for the one-year, $5 million deal he signed with the Knicks during last November’s free agency.
Industry sources believe Paul’s grievance may have been the impetus in Noel filing a $58 million lawsuit against Paul on Tuesday, claiming Paul was negligent in representing him. Noel fired Paul soon after signing with the Knicks and did not pay his bill, the grievance states.
Nerlens Noel has filed a massive lawsuit against Klutch Sports agent Rich Paul, as broken by Darren Heitner of Sports Agent Blog. According to the article, Noel alleges that Paul misled and neglected him when he was a client of Klutch Sports. Before even developing an official partnership, Paul told Noel in 2017 free agency that he "was a 100 million dollar man," which led to Noel not only leaving then-agent Happy Walters, but also turning down a 4-year, $70 million offer from the Dallas Mavericks to accept a qualifying offer. When Noel battled injuries the following season, his value cratered. But according to the accusations, Paul never tried to redeem his client.
“During the free agent season which began on July 1, 2018, and after Noel’s one-year contract with Dallas expired, neither Paul nor anyone at Klutch Sports presented any real proposals to Noel in terms of strategies or ideas on how Noel might secure a long-term contract or even a significant contract for the following season,” states the allegations. “Indeed, as the 2018 NBA free agent season began, no real offers or deals were presented to Noel on the first day of free agency.”
In more detail, Noel alleges that multiple teams, including the Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers, all reached out to Paul with interest in discussing contract opportunities. They never made contact, and from 2018-2020, Noel signed short-term deals worth $5 million or less with the Oklahoma City Thunder and New York Knicks.
Heitner also writes, "Noel finally terminated his relationship with Paul and Klutch Sports in December 2020 and says that the final straw was Noel learning that Paul 'had a history of mismanaging and ignoring other clients and costing them significant money.' He believed that Paul and Klutch Sports were only focused on serving their marquee clients, and did not have the capacity to serve Noel as well as players such as Norris Cole or Shabazz Muhammad."
May 25, 2022 | 8:35 pm EDT Update
Tim Reynolds: The moment of silence ended with this: “The Heat urges you to contact your state senators by calling 202-224-3121 to leave a message demanding their support for common sense gun laws.” Some fans applauded as that was announced.
May 25, 2022 | 7:51 pm EDT Update
Jared Weiss: Marcus Smart’s ankle will allow him to move “good enough” per Ime Udoka after testing it at shootaround. “He has enough movement where he’s not restricted in certain areas like a few days ago.” Said Smart can play through the pain.
Andy Larsen: Jazz announce their first draft workout tomorrow. Six players will take part: · R.J. Cole, Connecticut · Tyson Etienne, Wichita State · Johnny Juzang, UCLA · Jared Rhoden, Seton Hall · Akoldah Gak, Australia · Trevion Williams, Purdue
According to sources, Terry Stotts was asked previously if he would have interest in joining the Lakers as an assistant should he not be hired as a head coach. Stotts, sources said, told the team that he has no interest in a role as a lead assistant. Stotts was approached about joining Frank Vogel in that role last season on the Lakers’ bench and also declined, sources said.