Rich Paul is one of the NBA’s most popular agents. He represents LeBron James, Trae Young, Draymond Green, Anthony Davis, Ben Simmons, John Wall, Lonzo Ball and several other top players. He has also pursued business ventures outside of the agent business and done quite well himself.
But there is one player who doesn’t appreciate what Paul did for him – or more precisely what he didn’t do.
New York Knicks Center Nerlens Noel filed a lawsuit against Paul, claimed the agent cost him $ 58 million in potential revenue. Here’s how their relationship went downhill.
Paul first met Noel in 2017 at a birthday party for Simmons. The agent hinted he could get a better deal for Noel, who has been represented by Happy Walters since joining the league in 2013. Paul called Noel a “$ 100 million man” and convinced him to ditch Walters and sign with Paul instead.
Noel did just that, ending negotiations on a four-year $ 70 million deal with the Dallas Mavericks. Instead, he accepted a $ 4.1 million one-year offer from Dallas – an opportunity to prove himself for a big cause over the next year.
But Noel tore his thumb, underwent surgery, and missed more than half the season. And this big thing never came.
The following year, Noel signed the Veteran’s minimum: a two-year, $ 3.75 million contract with Oklahoma City Thunder. He left the Thunder to explore the free agency and ended up with the Knicks on a one-year contract worth $ 5 million.
Along the way, Noel claims Paul and Klutch Sports didn’t reach out to the teams or answer their calls – which caused a lucrative free agent market to dry up. The center also learned that its agent tended to ignore smaller players and only focus on big names.
Noel found a nice niche with the Knicks and just signed a three-year $ 32 million deal to stay in New York. For this deal he was represented by George Langberg – his new agent. Noel ended his relationship with Paul and Klutch Sports in December 2020.
Noel may have made up his mind continue the lawsuit After Paul filed a complaint, he claimed Noel owed him a commission of $ 200,000 from another deal he brokered. That move could have made Noel shoot back.
By the time this last contract runs, Noel will only be 30 years old. He could still make a big payday down the line. But it is possible that he will never get a contract as big as the one he is supposed to reject. Even if he may not get everything back, he is trying to achieve something with this lawsuit.