Nerlens Noel’s issues with Rich Paul and Klutch Sports is beginning to heat up, as the Knicks’ big man is looking for vindication from his former agent. The super-agent who represents superstars like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Zach LaVine among others had his relationship with Noel ended in December of 2020.
According to one of Noel’s former agents, Nerlens was offered a 4-year, $70 million contract in 2017 by the Dallas Mavericks as he entered restricted free agency.
However, the agent alleges that Paul and Klutch Sports convinced him to leave his former agent, join Klutch and accept Dallas’ qualifying $4.1 million offer for the next season.
The idea was that Noel could maximize his value in the 2017-18 season and earn an even bigger contract. But Paul’s strategy turned out to be a bad one, as Noel never earned a contract offer as big as that again.
After struggling with injuries, Noel ended up signing several minimum contracts in order to keep himself in the NBA. After leaving Klutch Sports, Noel filed a lawsuit against Paul and the agency, claiming that he lost close to $58 million in potential salary thanks to the poor management of Paul.
Luckily, Noel had a strong season with the New York Knicks and signed a 3-year, $32 million contracts with them. But Noel is still unhappy about the career trajectory he had thanks to following Paul’s instructions with his contract situations.
In fact, Noel’s suit now alleges that Rich Paul sabotaged moves for Noel to contending teams. According to the lawsuit, Noel had interest from teams like the LA Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Houston Rockets over the last few seasons.
But Rich Paul never relayed this information over to Noel and didn’t respond to the phone calls made by these franchises’ front offices. The lawsuit even claims that former 76ers head coach Bruce Brown told Noel about their former interest in him.
“The complaint claims that the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers had interest in signing Noel as a free agent in recent offseasons. But Noel, allegedly, was unaware of the interest because Paul didn’t return calls from those teams.”
"The suit alleges that former Sixers coach Brett Brown informed Noel of Philadelphia’s interest. If Brown agrees to provide his version of events on the record, it could have a significant impact on the case."
Going forward, this conflict could take a lot of twists and turns. And if more information vindicating Noel comes forward, it could spell bad news for Rich Paul and Klutch Sports as an agency.
Currently, this lawsuit is still on the docket and will take some time to play out in the legal system. But expect a lot more developments to occur as time goes forward.
At the moment, Noel will be focused on his play on the court, as he and the Knicks will look to recapture the magic they had in the regular season, securing the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference, their best finish in years.