Basketball News: Paul formed Klutch Sports, which represents LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, and Trae Young; Noel alleges he lost $58 million in potential salary owing to Paul’s neglect of him as a client over the course of three years.
Nerlens Noel, a centre for the New York Knicks, has sued his former agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group, for breach of fiduciary duty and carelessness toward him as a client.
The lawsuit does not specify a monetary amount of damages, but it does seek both actual and punitive damages.
Noel believes Paul misled him as a restricted free agent in 2017 and cost him $58 million in potential salary, according to the suit, which was filed Monday in Dallas County, Texas and first reported by Sports Agent Blog.
The crux of Noel’s resentment stems from Paul’s original appointment as his agent in 2017.
At a birthday celebration for another of the agent’s clients, Philadelphia 76ers point forward Ben Simmons, the 2013 number six overall draught pick met Paul.
According to the lawsuit, Noel was weighing a four-year, $70 million contract from his team, the Dallas Mavericks, but Paul told him that if he dismissed his agent Happy Walters and hired him instead, he could be a “$100 million guy.”
Noel followed Paul’s counsel and fired Walters, opting for a one-year qualifying offer ($4.1 million) with the goal of pursuing a larger contract the following summer. Noel alleges Paul lost interest in him as a client when he tore a ligament in his left thumb and only played 30 games in the 2017-18 season.
Noel went on to sign two league-minimum contracts with the Oklahoma City Thunder, totalling $3.7 million over two seasons. He parted ways with Paul when he signed a one-year, $5 million agreement with the New York Knicks at the start of the 2020-21 season.
Paul was also accused by the centre of bypassing various NBA front offices who were purportedly in contact with Klutch Sports to discuss signing the big man.
Paul represents NBA stars such as LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Trae Young, Draymond Green, and Ben Simmons, among others. In December, Noel ended his relationship with Klutch.
Noel has averaged 7.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, and 1.3 steals in 425 career games, 208 of which were starts, with the Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder, and New York Knicks.
In his 62 appearances for New York last season, Noel started 41 games, which was his most since 2015-16. For the Knicks, he averaged 5.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game, good for third-most in the league.
Noel inked a three-year deal with the Knicks this month that guaranteed him $27.7 million over three years and a possible $4.1 million in bonuses because of his defensive presence in the paint.
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