Knicks’ Nerlens Noel sues former agent Rich Paul for $58m in Lost money

Knicks center Nerlens Noel is suing former agent Rich Paul for $58 million in lost contract money, according to court filings obtained by Sports Agent Blog.

According to the lawsuit filed in Dallas Monday, Noel was advised by Paul that he rejected a $70 million four-year contract offered by the Mavericks in 2017. Knicks Center also alleges that Paul, who represented NBA superstars like LeBron James and Trae Young, failed to fulfill his fiduciary obligations as Noel’s agent. He ignored securing contracts and completely ignored the interest of his client.

Paul was hired by Noel in 2017 and then fired in 2020.

READ MORE: Rich Paul, who are you? 8 facts about LeBron the agent

Noel claims that he first met Paul in July 2017, at Ben Simmons’ birthday party. Happy Walters was Noel’s agent at the time. Noel was drafted 6th overall by the NBA Draft in 2013. He had been averaging 10 points per game, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in three NBA seasons, which he played with both the Mavericks and 76ers. In February 2017, he was traded to them.

According to the lawsuit, Noel claimed that Ben Simmons was worth $100 million and that he would get him a maximum deal if he broke up with Walters. Noel signed to Klutch Sports after Paul accepted his offer. Noel says Paul advised him to decline the Mavs four-year contract worth $70million and to sign instead a $4.1 million qualification offer. This would allow Noel to be a free agent for the next summer.

Noel broke a ligament in the thumb and played only 30 games that season. He averaged 4.0 points and 5.6 rebounds, and had a steal in a few of his limited game time. Noel says that Paul lost interest in Noel as a client at this point. As expected, he was granted unrestricted agency in 2018 but discovered that Paul hadn’t presented any strategies or offers.

Noel claimed he was recruited by Russell Westbrook and Paul George to play with the Thunder. He signed the minimum league deal worth $3.75million for two years. Noel averaged 4.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. Noel claimed Paul did not help him get to Oklahoma City and still received a 2 percent commission for his agent.

According to the lawsuit, neither Paul nor Klutch Sports attempted to secure deals for Paul during regular season. After declining Paul’s second-year option, Noel stated that he had entered free agency without any deals.

According to the suit:

Noel was not represented by Klutch Sports or Paul during and after the 2018-19 season. It was not mentioned that a strategy had been devised to generate interest in Noel from other teams or potential endorsement deals. Paul advised Noel to decline his option as a player for the second year and he once more went on the market looking for free agents.

Noel stated that he was forced to sign a second league minimum contract, one for a full year with OKC.

MORE: NBA free agency winners and losers: Heat upgrade roster; Pelicans, Knicks make confusing moves

Noel was told by his ex-coach in Philadelphia, Brett Brown that Paul had tried to reach out to them about Noel’s signing but the agent hadn’t returned their calls. Noel stated that he had heard of similar situations from other teams.

Noel stated that he thought about dropping Paul in 2020 as his agent, but Lucas Newton from Klutch Sports convinced him not to. Newton claimed the Thunder had a contract for three years worth $7-10m per year. Newton then told Noel the team was shifting money on the books to make the offer come through. Noel claimed that he discovered Paul hadn’t returned phone calls from either the Clippers or Rockets during this period.

Following the 2019-20 season, Noel signed with the Knicks. However, Noel only learned of New York’s interest after Leon Rose, the Knicks president, reached out to Steve Dorn for a phone call. Noel eventually dropped Klutch Sports and the agent in December 2020, after discovering that Klutch Sports had mismanaged Norris Cole as well as Shabazz Mohammed: two players without the star power like Young or LeBron.

After his one-year contract with the Knicks ended, Noel signed a $32 million, three-year contract. Noel estimated that Paul’s 2017 Mavericks contract was worth $58 million. He also took into consideration the league minimum contracts Noel signed.

Publiated at Wed 25 August 2021, 02:48:37 +0000

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