Report: Knicks' Noel suing former agent Paul over $58M in lost salary

New York Knicks' Nerlens Noel reacts after he was called for a technical foul after an altercation with Charlotte Hornets' Cody Zeller during an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden, Saturday, May 15, 2021, in New York. (Elsa/Pool Photo via AP)

New York Knicks centre Nerlens Noel is suing Rich Paul and his firm Klutch Sports, claiming he missed out on $58 million in potential earnings when he was represented by the star agent from 2017 to 2020, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, comes after Klutch reportedly filed their own grievance with the National Basketball Players Association claiming the Knicks big man hadn't paid $200,000 in commission on a one-year, $5-million deal signed with New York last fall. Noel re-upped with the Knicks on a three-year, $27.72-million contract this off-season.

In the lawsuit, per Windhorst, Noel is claiming breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract and negligence.

The claim centres around Noel's decision to turn down a four-year, $70-million deal offered to him by the Dallas Mavericks in July 2017.

Noel, who was a restricted free agent at the time, was initially represented by agent Happy Walters at the start of that free agency period. But after meeting Paul at Ben Simmons' birthday party in Los Angeles, Noel fired Walters and hired the star agent, who also represents LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Draymond Green, among others.

Noel claims Paul advised him to turn down the $70-millon offer and instead accept a one-year deal so he could be an unrestricted free agent the following off-season when the agent said he could cash in on a more lucrative contract. Noel eventually signed his one-year, $4.1-million qualifying offer.

The decision proved to be a mistake. Noel's numbers dropped the following season as he missed 42 games after breaking his thumb.

The 27-year-old didn't re-sign in Dallas and made the league minimum in his next two seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Noel, per Windhorst, claims Klutch didn't prioritize his free agency, wasn't responsive to interested teams and failed to bring a multi-year deal with the Thunder to fruition.

Noel fired Paul after he joined the Knicks.

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