Rich Paul is widely known as one of the most influential agents in basketball. He has lots of stars as his clients, including LeBron James, with whom he has a close relationship.
Recently, there has been a lawsuit filed against Rich Paul by his former client, Nerlens Noel. Noel claims that Rich Paul is responsible for $58 million in lost earnings. It seems as though there are people cheering on Noel from behind the scenes. In his recent article concerning Paul's situation with Noel, Fischer revealed that a lot of agents across the league "cheered" about the lawsuit towards Rich Paul. It looks as though Paul and Klutch Sports have some detractors in the NBA.
NBA agents across the league cheered Nerlens Noel's lawsuit this week against powerbroker Rich Paul of Klutch Sports.
Paul, a noted player representative and close friend of LeBron James, has reached the upper echelon of the NBA's player representation economy, wielding an unpopular influence that many figures around the league believe comes from working alongside the greatest player of his generation. That naturally creates a few adversaries in the process.
The latest now appears to be Noel, who says Paul cost him $58 million in forfeited salary after Noel declined a four-year, $70 million offer from the Mavericks in 2017. Noel fired his then-agent Happy Walters, who had negotiated the $70 million deal, under Paul's direction. And Noel then took Paul's advice to decline the deal in search of a richer payday the following summer.
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.
While agents may be upset at Paul's actions, Jake Fischer also reports that they are "guilty of the same activities", suggesting that those that are happy about the lawsuit aren't exactly perfect either. While this matter has been a hot topic for the last few days, it seems as though there is a plan to settle the dispute by the NBPA.
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."
It seems right for the union to step in and try to broker a resolution between the parties. It remains to be seen what sort of agreement they propose, and it's likely that they're hard at work trying to figure it out.