Nerlens Noel has had enough of Rich Paul and Klutch Sports. On Monday, the New York Knicks center filed a lawsuit against his former agent, with Noel claiming that he lost a whopping $58 million in potential salary from 2017 to 2020 when Paul represented him.
Noel decided to take action against Klutch after the sports agency claimed that he hadn’t paid $200,000 in commission on his previous one-year deal with the New York Knicks. When Klutch filed that grievance with the National Basketball Players Association, Noel fought back with a lawsuit of his own, suing Paul for breach of contract, a breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence.
Noel’s infamous Dallas deal takes center stage
Noel’s lawsuit revolves around his decision back in July 2017 when he entered the offseason as a restricted free agent of the Dallas Mavericks. Noel was expected to be one of the marquee free agents that year after averaging 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds with the Mavericks, who acquired him midway through the previous season in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Once the free agency period started in 2017, the Mavericks offered Noel a massive four-year, $70 million contract. While that deal was on the table, Noel decided to fire his then-agent Happy Walters and hire Paul after meeting in Los Angeles at Ben Simmons’ birthday party.
Noel claimed in the lawsuit that Paul advised him to turn down the Mavs’ $70 million offer and accept a one-year deal instead with the agent promising him that he could get a more lucrative deal the following year as an unrestricted free agent. Noel heeded Paul’s advice, passing on the Mavs’ offer and signing a one-year qualifying offer of $4.1 million.
Noel blames Paul for ill-fated free agency decision
Unfortunately for Noel, the huge contract didn’t materialize as he suffered a broken thumb the following season, forcing him to miss a total of 42 games. The Mavericks decided not to re-sign him with Noel moving to the Oklahoma City Thunder the next two seasons.
Playing as a backup center, Noel was forced to accept league minimum deals, earning $3.7 million combined during his two-year stint with the Thunder. Noel got a slight raise when he transferred to the Knicks last season, making $5 million in the deal with New York. Paul remained as Noel’s agent in those four contracts.
Noel further added in his lawsuit that Klutch wasn’t responsive to NBA teams looking to sign him as a free agent. Noel also blamed Klutch for failing to execute a multi-year contract with the Thunder. Noel decided to part ways with Paul after signing with the Knicks last season.
Noel recently signed a three-year contract with the Knicks this month worth a guaranteed $27.7 million. Noel’s current deal was negotiated by his new agent George Langberg.
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