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Former Maverick Nerlens Noel files a lawsuit against Rich Paul and Klutch Sports over lost earnings

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A new lawsuit, filed in Dallas, alleges many things

Dallas Mavericks v Toronto Raptors Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Accoring to the website SportsAgentBlog.com, former Maverick Nerlens Noel has filed a suit against his former agent Rich Paul and Klutch Sports.

It’s really quite incredible and if you have the time, read the entire entry. One highlight:

The Complaint says that Paul, knowing that Noel was represented by Walters in 2017, told Noel that he “was a 100 million man” and that Paul could get Noel a max deal if he terminated his relationship with Walters.

The suit seeks $58 million in lost earnings. As we all recall, Nerlens turned down a 4 year, $70 million deal from the Mavericks and the reaction at the time from fellow NBA players was harsh:

Wilson Chandler also tweeted out in rather precise language, saying “F—- that. Common sense. Smh” (his tweet has since been deleted).

As our own Josh Bowe summed up the issues at the time succinctly:

Anything that prevents Noel from being a Maverick for the next four years will be a colossal failure on both sides — on the Mavericks for not closing on a 23-year-old core centerpiece and on Noel for foolishly throwing away secure dollars and misreading the market.

The suit alleges that Noel ended negotiations with the Mavericks at the advice of Paul and he then signed a one year qualifying offer with the Oklahoma City Thunder where he hurt his thumb. After that, it alleges that Rich Paul lost interest in Noel as a client and didn’t respond back to numerous teams looking to discuss deals in future seasons.

Noel moved on from Klutch last year and he’s not the only recent client to change agencies. Fellow Knick Mitchell Robinson (who has had six different agents) fired Klutch in December, the same time Noel did. In 2019, then-Knick Marcus Morris elected to fire Klutch following a strange free agency where he agreed to terms with the Spurs only to reverse then sign with the Knicks.

This is potentially trouble for Klutch as they can’t possibly want discovery to occur and have the public see how the sausage gets (and doesn’t get) made in terms of NBA contracts. Per to SportsAgentBlog:

[Nerlens] says that Paul breached his fiduciary duty by inducing Noel to terminate his representation agreement with Walters and then by failing to do any meaningful work on Noel’s behalf in terms of securing contracts, new endorsement deals, or by offering strategies to Noel on how to maximize his value and earnings.

At least now we have a clearer picture of why Nerlens walked away. At the time, we all had a pretty good idea of what happened, but given that Happy Walters was Noel’s official agent at the time Noel turned down the Maverick offer, it was hard to determine precisely what happened. Given the sunshine disinfectant of this lawsuit, now we have a much better idea of what allegedly happened.

Either way, Noel not being a Maverick in 2017-18 and beyond changed the course of the franchise. He would’ve made Dallas a better team and tanking for a solid pick in the 2018 draft likely would’ve been more difficult. It’s a shame he made the choice he did and perhaps the lawsuit will result in him recovering lost income as a result of Rich Paul’s alleged bad advice.