NBA Investigated Clippers After Deal With Kawhi

The NBA conducted a formal investigation into the Clippers last summer following the team’s free agent agreement with Kawhi Leonard, three sources with knowledge of the situation tell Sam Amick of The Athletic. As Amick explains, complaints surfaced during Leonard’s free agency that his uncle Dennis Robertson was asking teams for improper benefits.

According to Amick, the NBA was told following Leonard’s free agent decision that Robertson had asked team officials for an ownership stake, a private plane, a house, and a guaranteed amount of off-court endorsement money they could expect if Kawhi joined their team. As Amick rightly notes, all of those requests would violate the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

A source with knowledge of the Lakers‘ talks with Leonard tells Amick that Robertson repeatedly made those requests to owner Jeanie Buss, who made it clear the perks were illegal and wouldn’t be considered. Sources tell The Athletic that similar requests were made of the Raptors, which aligns with what we heard out of Toronto at the time.

The presumption among rival teams is that Robertson asked the Clippers for similar perks, but the league’s investigation didn’t turn up any evidence that the Clips granted any of those requests, per Amick.

Leonard’s free agency process was believed to be the motivating factor for the NBA’s decision to introduce new anti-tampering guidelines and penalties this fall. The league has also asked the players’ union to re-emphasize that only certified player agents are permitted to negotiate directly with teams, a rule that teams are expected to stress on their ends going forward as well.

“This is all because of Uncle Dennis,” one team owner said of those measures to cut down on tampering and cap circumvention, according to Amick. A prominent agent offered a similar assessment: “This is because of Dennis. He didn’t know the rules.”

Although the Lakers are comfortably atop the Western Conference with a 24-6 record, the team is still upset by how the Leonard sweepstakes played out, says Amick. For a short time, there was a strong belief within the Lakers’ organization that the Finals MVP would choose them, but they came to suspect that Kawhi’s camp was using them for leverage.

For what it’s worth, a source tells Amick that the Raptors never believed the Lakers were truly an option for Leonard. Amick adds that there was also some skepticism within the Clippers’ organization that Kawhi would join the Lakers, albeit not from the club’s top executives.

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24 thoughts on “NBA Investigated Clippers After Deal With Kawhi

  1. JD Candello

    Sad that this is probably all true and nothing more than a slap on the wrist will occur-

    The Nba needs to clean this s**t up asap, they are in a great position right now with Football and Baseball on the downswing and the biggest problem they face is superstars being able to do whatever they want no matter who suffers….

    How long is it before rules and laws just don’t matter that much anymore in our society for the “chosen ones”

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      As long as laws don’t apply to the rich and powerful, just like they don’t with everyone’s favorite criminal in chief, then they won’t elsewhere.

      • JD Candello

        So true Rocketman but it just seems like a perfect time for the NBA to step in and really seize the market- All they really have to do is “keep their nose clean” and natural selection should run its cource…

        Im a Leornard fan but this is really a bad look for everyone here

      • fieldsj2

        Please take your politics somewhere else, I come to this site the avoid that crap!

        • whoneedsfacts

          It wasn’t really political. It’s more a takeaway of American society. To be fair Trump isn’t the first billionaire to prove that our justice system is broken and caters only to the corrupt elite.

        • SheaGoodbye

          Jeez, someone is touchy. This site is actually pretty tame when it comes to politics filtering in. You should consider us all lucky.

    • ColossusOfClout

      Great position? NBA’s TV ratings are DOWN a precipitous 15% this season.

      • JD Candello

        They dont count in illegal streams which is very heavy these days COC so that stat is a bit misleading

  2. x%sure

    Uncle Dennis knew the rules; he just didn’t care. Kawhi found Ballmer, surprise

  3. bowserhound

    So the NBA knew Uncle Dennis did these things and there’s zero punishment. That’s weird.

    • SheaGoodbye

      I mean, they never happened so what could the league do? I guess ban him from future negotiations? Seems like it’d be better for everyone just to indulge him without taking him seriously.

  4. JD Candello

    Also props to Jeanie Buss here, inevitably she will get backlash from the haters crying sour grapes but this is DEF the stuff that needs to be exposed to the public even if you get a bit a backlash-

    Id love to see some disciplinary action here but am not holding my breath

  5. Jason Lancaster

    I don’t understand all these comments about punishment or discipline for Kwahi. His uncle asked for things that are perfectly legal, they’re just not allowed under the CBA.

    Most European basketball contracts include a home, a use of a vehicle, a local ‘fixer’ to help with translations and incidentals, and connections with local businesses. And how many fortune 500 CEOs get an ownership stake (aka stock) as part of their compensation package? 99%?

    Uncle Dennis was in over his head, but Kwahi shouldn’t be punished for that.

    • whoneedsfacts

      It dosnt matter if his actions were legal, nobody said the man needs to be prosecuted. He should definitely be punished though, it’s a bad look for the league and literally against the CBA which everything is based on. Also it comes off kinda dirty, your making 100s of millions why be extra extra greedy.

      • SheaGoodbye

        And the league and owners aren’t greedy? Don’t make me laugh.

        Kawhi shouldn’t be punished. At worst, the league should give Kawhi’s uncle a warning, or consider trying to have him removed from future negotiations. It’d probably be hard to stop his meddling regardless.

  6. imindless
    imindless

    Not suprised to be honest. Clippers definitely gave him all that under the table no way any player wants to go to a team like the dippers.

  7. paladin

    “This is all because of Uncle Dennis,” one team owner said of those measures to cut down on tampering and cap circumvention, according to Amick. A prominent agent offered a similar assessment: “This is because of Dennis. He didn’t know the rules.”….I call Bullsheet on this naivete statement that ”he didn’t know the rules” Bull…He knew the rules exactly! Had he been a registered agent he would not have been able to ask for the Sun, Moon, Stars & Hotel California! He was using his non-official status to skirt the rules….. Uncle Dennis! I wonder if he hangs out with Lavar Ball? If the Association wants to stop it, FINE the players when this crapola happens…I doubt that happens but that would halt it.

  8. seth3120

    If he allowed his uncle to meddle in his business and negotiations then he needs to pay some kind of penalty or else everyone is going to send in their own uncle Dennis to circumvent the cba

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