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Rich Paul Files Motion to Dismiss Nerlens Noel's Lawsuit Alleging Breach of Contract

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVOctober 25, 2021

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 11:  Sports agent Rich Paul looks on after the game between the Miami Heat and the Charlotte Hornets at American Airlines Arena on March 11, 2020 in Miami, Florida. The NBA announced tonight the season has been suspended after a Utah Jazz player preliminary tested positive for the coronavirus. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

NBA agent Rich Paul filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed against him by New York Knicks center Nerlens Noel, per The Athletic on Monday.

In his lawsuit, Noel alleged Paul and Klutch Sports Group cost him about $58 million in potential earnings and "did little to no work" to help him as his client.

Paul's motion argues that any disputes should be settled through National Basketball Players Association arbitration rather than the court, as per the terms of typical player-agent contracts. Paul also claims Noel has not paid him the 4 percent of his earnings from the one-year, $5 million deal negotiated ahead of the 2020-21 season.

The professional relationship between the two began in August 2017 shortly after Noel was offered a four-year, $70 million contract by the Dallas Mavericks. The center eventually signed a one-year, $4.1 million qualifying offer with Dallas that summer before injuries derailed his career.

Noel signed multiple low-paying deals before dropping Paul in December 2020, eventually securing a three-year, $32 million contract with the Knicks under a new agency this past offseason.

The lawsuit alleges Klutch Sports would overlook smaller clients:

"Noel's frustrations with Paul came to a tilt in December 2020 when he learned that Paul had a history of mismanaging and ignoring other clients and costing them significant money. [...]The belief was that Paul and Klutch Sports were only focused on serving their 'marquee' clients and did not have the capacity to provide competent service to other clients such as Noel, or players like Norris Cole or Shabazz Muhammad, as additional examples."

Paul notably represents some of the league's top stars, including LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Ben Simmons.

Noel has also filed a grievance with the NBPA that is pending, accusing Paul of "breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, negligence and gross negligence, and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing," according to The Athletic.