What is up with Nerlens Noel? Normally, Noel would not be grabbing headlines, but anytime an NBA player brings something to court — the civil court — it will get the media buzzing, and that’s the case (pun not intended) with the former Kentucky Wildcats star.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN recently reported last week that Noel had filed a lawsuit suing his former agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, over a lost earning worth $58 million.
Noel took the action after Klutch recently filed a grievance with the National Basketball Players Association, claiming Noel hadn’t paid $200,000 in commission on his previous one-year contract with the Knicks, multiple sources told ESPN.
Noel claims breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract and negligence. The lawsuit doesn’t cite a specific amount of damages but asks for actual and punitive relief.
This is not the first time this offseason that we have heard about an NBA player who missed on an opportunity to make more money than what they most recently signed up for to earn. Does the name Dennis Schroder ring a bell?
In Noel’s case, the crux of his resentment towards Paul is centered on the money he potentially lost after heeding the advice of Klutch Sports. According to Noel, the Dallas Mavericks offered him a lucrative extension deal at the end of the 2016-17 NBA season when he became an unrestricted free agent, but Paul told him to reject that offer and just bet on himself in hopes of landing a better deal a year later.
In the lawsuit, Noel said Paul advised him to pass on the $70 million offer and accept a one-year deal so he could be an unrestricted free agent the following year when Paul said he could get Noel a more lucrative contract. Noel eventually did turn down the deal and signed his one-year qualifying offer of $4.1 million.
Things didn’t go smoothly afterward for Noel, as he got injured in the 2017-18 season which cost him a lot of games, thus negatively impacting his value on the market. He would later sign for a two-year deal worth $3.75 million with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Most recently, he hooked up with the New York Knicks on a 3-year, $27.7 million. Not too shabby, but he would still be in a better financial situation if he just signed the extension offer from the Mavs.
Noel and Schroder could only wish they could turn back time and change regrettable decisions they’ve made. It’s okay for them to feel like life cheated on them, but they can’t say they did not have control of their fates either. Both are still just 27 at the moment, and at least for Schroder, he could hit the jackpot next year when he becomes a UFA.
That jackpot may be hard to hit, too, considering that Marcus Smart got himself a contract extension worth $77 million, and Schroder plays a similar combo-guard position.
If you look at their minutes during the regular season last year, here’s the breakdown, according to basketball-reference.com.
- Marcus Smart: 1581 minutes played (45% at point guard, 55% at shooting guard)
- Dennis Schroder: 1956 minutes played (42% at point guard, 54% at shooting guard, 4% at small forward)
What’s going to make it hurt more for Schroder is this, if you add Smart’s extension to Schroder’s current salary ($5.9 million), it totals to $82.9 million. That’s just a little short of how much money Schroder would have made if he’d signed the $84 million extension offer from the Lakers.
Schroder still does have the chance to get a big payday, but there are just so many other variables to take into account. Health is one of them, especially in a world that now has Covid-19 to worry about. Let’s not forget DeMarcus Cousins, who turned down a two-year $40 million extension from the New Orleans Pelicans after tearing his Achilles, and then promptly got injured and has struggled to recoup those lost earnings ever since.