When they signed Kawhi Leonard last summer, the LA Clippers became title contenders overnight, ushering in an era of high expectations for a franchise with a very dark history.
Needless to say, it was a huge, game-changing signing for the Clips, and one that was spearheaded by team executive Jerry West.
Unfortunately, their recruitment efforts for Leonard are coming back to haunt them a bit in a lawsuit filed by Johnny Wilkes, who claims he never got paid for his role in helping the franchise land Kawhi.
A man who claims to be an associate of Kawhi Leonard is suing Clippers executive Jerry West because he claims he helped Los Angeles land the Klaw. Wilkes reportedly told West in April 2019 that he had close ties to Leonard and his uncle, Dennis Robertson. This allegedly moved West to ask Wilkes a few weeks later if he could help the Clippers land Kawhi. Yet, nothing in life is free as Wilkes says he told West his services would cost $2.5 million.
West agreed to the terms prompting Wilkes to "immediately" start working on convincing Kawhi to sign with the Clippers. Wilkes claimed he was the driving force in the Clippers acquiring Paul George to intrigue Kawhi. He also says that he gave West and the Clippers information needed to tailor their pitch for Leonard.
"This information was vital because it was the exact information Kawhi Leonard wanted to hear at the time in order to effectuate his signing with the Clippers," the lawsuit says.
According to Wilkes, West agreed several times to pay over $2 million for help in bringing Kawhi Leonard to the team, money that Wilkes says never came.
Interestingly, it also appears as if the Clippers tailor-made their pitch around the information that Wilkes gave him.
The Clippers, who lost in the Western Conference playoffs earlier this year, are seeking to inspire a winning culture for the franchise in hopes of winning a title for the 2021 season. This case is obviously a distraction they do not need right now.