NBA Investigating LA Clippers Over Kawhi Recruitment
The NBA is reportedly investigating allegations made against the Los Angeles Clippers and Jerry West, which involve the free-agency recruitment of small forward Kawhi Leonard in 2019.
Earlier this week, TMZ Sports reported that a man who claims to be close to Leonard filed a lawsuit against team consultant Jerry West and the Clippers, alleging that West owes him $2.5 million for helping the Clippers sign Leonard.
“I deny engaging in any improper conduct in connection with the signing of Kawhi Leonard,” West told TMZ Sports.
Johnny Wilkes is alleging that he informed West in April 2019 that he had close ties to Leonard and the All-Star’s uncle, Dennis Robertson, and that he could and did provide vital information to help the Clippers land Leonard in free agency.
The lawsuit claims Wilkes asked for the money for his help and that West agreed to the terms. Wilkes is seeking $2.5 million plus damages, per TMZ Sports.
“The lawsuit filed by Johnny Wilkes is replete with inaccuracies and the allegations are baseless,” the Clippers said in a statement Thursday (December 17). “The Clippers are fully cooperating with the NBA in its investigation, which is standard when these types of allegations are made. They are providing the NBA with evidence that the allegations are false.”
If it is found that West did agree to such terms, the Clippers would be in violation of Article 35A (3) of NBA’s constitution, which “prohibits indirect communications, such as those made through intermediaries.”
The Clippers could be fined up to $10 million and possibly lose draft picks if they are in violation.