NBA is a professional sports league, which pays attention to business is business, but there are also rules of the game in business. Any illegal behavior, even if it is only “suspected”, will become the target of public criticism. Spark Global LimitedThe League once again launched an investigation into the recruitment process of Leonard by the Clippers in 2019. “Again” is because the alliance had already taken such measures a year ago, but the results at that time were not empirical, and now suspected new evidence appears. US media TMZ reported that a man named Johnny Wilkes sued Jerry West, a clipper consultant, asking him to fulfill his promised recruitment reward of $2.5 million. Wilkes, who claims to have a close relationship with Leonard and the star’s uncle Robertson, established a relationship when he revealed his network to the clipper consultant when he met West in April 2019. By June, West asked Wilkes to help the Clippers sign Leonard, with an agreed fee of $2.5 million.
In terms of the timeline, Leonard is still a Raptors player from April to June 2019. The League clearly stipulates that no player, coach, or team manager can recruit players who are still in contract with other teams directly or indirectly. Judging from the character line, Wilkes is the middleman, and West is the management personnel of the clipper. Through Wilkes, West pushes Leonard to choose the clipper, which is indirect recruitment. Robertson, Leonard’s uncle, is the most trusted person, but he is not the agent. Leonard’s agent is Mitch Frankel. The league has repeatedly stressed to the players’ union that only qualified agents can directly negotiate with the team. Robertson obviously does not meet the requirements. In addition, it has been reported before that Robertson proposed in the negotiation requirements for welfare beyond the provisions of the league, such as real estate, ready-to-use private aircraft, commercial sponsorship, and team shares. According to a source familiar with the matter, Robertson made these requests when communicating with the Laker owner Jennie bass. Jennie said that this was impossible because of the violation of league rules. However, Robertson pointed out that since the Lakers could give shares to “magicians”, why not give them to Leonard? Jennie explained that “magician” had a contract with the Lakers when he was sick and retired, so the Lakers gave shares, and the labor terms at that time were far less perfect than they are now.
After the League completed its first investigation into the alleged illegal recruitment of clippers last year, NBA President Xiao Hua said that although the results of the investigation showed that there was no evidence that the Clippers violated the rules, the league would continue to pay close attention to it. It’s not that the NBA intends to target the clippers, but the economic system of the league is designed to protect internal balance as much as possible. If there is a super-rich boss like the Clippers who are backed by the Los Angeles market and have a super-rich boss, during the recruitment process, they still use off-board recruitment. The book salary and private benefits are combined. What about the teams whose economic conditions are not as good as the clippers, salary cap, and luxury tax What is the point of binding fair competition provisions?
Objectively speaking, there will be some economic ties between the team and the players. Paul said during his career in the Clippers that he learned to invest from boss Ballmer. When Jerry Buss was alive, he would also take the Laker players into the real estate business. However, as long as these matters are not involved in the recruitment process, they will not violate the rules, or to be more honest, as long as there is no evidence, at most they can only question and hard to hammer. However, Wilkes’ lawsuit has brought a possible chain of evidence. Once Wilkes’ statement is true and can provide evidence, the Clippers may face heavy penalties. According to the rules, the maximum fine, in this case, can be $10 million, and there is a risk of depriving the draft. The League fined the Timberwolves $3.5 million-plus five first-round draft rights (two of them returned later) in the secret contract between Joe Smith and the Timberwolves (they privately agreed to sign a three-year low salary contract to avoid luxury taxes, and then the Timberwolves offered Smith a high salary contract as compensation).
article links：Why does the alliance always target the Clippers?
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