NBA Investigating Kawhi Recruitment By Jerry West, Clippers

7:23pm: The Clippers have released a statement in response to the NBA’s investigation, referring to the lawsuit against West as “replete with inaccuracies” and the allegations as “baseless.”

“The Clippers are fully cooperating with the NBA,” the statement said in part. “They are providing the NBA with evidence that the allegations are false.”


6:16pm: The league is investigating the recruitment tactics employed by the Clippers and executive board member Jerry West in adding All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard to Los Angeles as a 2019 free agent, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic (via Twitter).

Earlier this week, a TMZ report indicated that Johnny Wilkes, a man who claims to be friends with Leonard, is suing West for $2.5MM.

Per the suit, Wilkes claims that, due to his connection to Leonard and his uncle, Dennis Robertson, West agreed to pay him $2.5MM for his services in luring Leonard away from the Raptors in the 2019 offseason. Wilkes also claims that he suggested the team would need to add Leonard’s future star teammate, forward Paul George.

A representative for West spoke to TMZ Sports about the suit on West’s behalf. “I am not aware of any lawsuit being filed against me and I deny engaging in any improper conduct in connection with the signing of Kawhi Leonard,” the rep said.

Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report tweets that, depending on what the NBA does or does not discover, the penalties for such a recruitment infraction could vary significantly.

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45 thoughts on “NBA Investigating Kawhi Recruitment By Jerry West, Clippers

  1. NOW?!

    Talk about wilful ignorance on behalf of the League.

    You HAMMER Sacramento and Milwaukee for MUTUALLY AGREEING….but look the other way on Kawhi for 18 months?!

    God I hate the NBA

    • LordBanana

      How’d they hammer sac and mil? The NBA hasn’t done anything regarding that except open an investigation

    • SheaGoodbye

      It’s a bit different because Bogdan and his agent are the ones who raised the issue, seeing as how he hadn’t been informed of the deal. And when you would screw up that badly, you deserve what happens.

      Not giving a pass to what went on in LA. Just stating a fact.

  2. GoLandCrabs

    Them landing Kawhi and PG was beyond suspicious and they are finally going to pay for it. Uncle Dennis asking for mansions….All of a sudden Paul George demands a trade after declaring there was unfinished business in OKC. No one wants to play for LA’s unwanted stepchild this bad. Ballmer did something under the table. Lay the hammer down Silver!

    • Tatsumaki

      Agree, it was reported kawhi was going to lakers and all of sudden clippers sign him and trade for george. Rob and magic said they thought the had the deal sign and had contract drawn up to sign. Fishy

      • Freddy H

        Also Kawhi was doing that on purpose to troll the Lakers.

        Lakers got the last laugh, but Kawhi won the off-season

  3. dave frost nhlpa

    Is it as suspicious as KG & KI to the Nets,the east coast version of the Clippers.
    And they didn’t need to bribe anyone. Leonard was coming home.

    It’s such a me me me me me league.
    They should all have one year contracts and let the players association form the clubs. Eventually they will eliminate themselves.

    • Freddy H

      I do believe it would benefit the league to abolish the draft.

      Especially since the lottery is an obvious farce anyways

  4. the dude

    You dolts that are getting mad, read the whole article. Dude is claiming in a lawsuit he basically took a bribe To convince Kawhi on their behalf, which would be a lot more blatant than the kings/bucks deal, considering their deal may not have been a real one when you thi k about it

  5. bigeasye

    I mean you don’t think LeBron, Rich Paul and AD didn’t have communications before hand? And Al Horford magically happened to get a massive contract from the sixers 20 minutes after opting out?

    • mike.honcho

      Heresy! What about Lebron, Rich Paul and AD?

      Absolutely no collusion! AD signing with Rich Paul and eventually going to the LAKERS was coincidental and completely above-board!

      This was all Rob Pelinka’s doing, he’s the LAKERS GM after all!

    • GoLandCrabs

      Lakers didn’t allegedly pay someone for insider information and access to what their prized free agent wants to hear. This is beyond improper behavior that could have serious punishment. Magic got fined for a wink on Jimmy Kimmel. Thats nothing compared to this.

      • DeathbyDeathwest

        I mean, the Lakers paid LeBron, who controls AD’s agent Rich Paul.

        That type of relationship might be worth a look moving forward as well.

          • DeathbyDeathwest

            That’s actually the problem, is that LeBron isn’t just some guy under the table.

            The Lakers, through LeBron and the agent Paul are circumventing the tampering rules.

            No hate or reaching on anyone, I just think they’re exploiting a loophole the league could end if it wanted to.

            • kylewait89

              No one who supports the Lakers is gonna cop to it man. We all know the tampering rules have been circumvented this way for most LeBron team acquisitions. I just think it’s funny people think that’s okay and not this. And this is still not a this. It’s still strikes me as flimsy.

  6. implant

    I said two years ago that even Jerry West would fall to the Clipper curse, the Clipper black hole. Jerry please come home. You have a statue, a jersey hanging on the wall and your fingerprints all over 10 of our banners. We forgive you. Come home

  7. Little_Dunker_45

    This is the equivalent of the FBI opening a Watergate case. A little late to the party? Wow. Go investigates who keeps farting in oracle arena it smells like numbers 2s

  8. davethemailman

    Well said, Mr. GoLandCrabs. I don’t know if this can be proven or not, but, yeah, I believe it.

  9. metsie1

    Shocked, I am. LOL. This is exactly what the NBA wants. Big market teams with star players. This kind of tampering goes on all the time. Bribe? What bribe? The only reason the NBA is “investigating” is because of the lawsuit. They are just trying to gauge how much damage control is needed to fool the average fan in to believing the league is still playing on a level field.

  10. I’m skeptical of this guy suing them, but if it’s true, will they change the logo? ;)

  11. Howie415

    Is Johnny Wilkes even a real person? Sounds like a fraud to me. The real question that needs to answered is if Kawhi actually knows this guy.

  12. illowa

    “they are providing evidence that the allegations are false.” has anyone ever provided evidence that allegations against themselves are true? smh

    • Lakers1

      You wish you had lebron on your sorry team.. nba will drop the hammer.. Minnesota lost joe smith and draft picks and was fined for a wink wink contract deal.. if this is the case with kawhi, not only huge fine, loss of picks but kawhi should be suspended for minimum year and contract voided and balmer suspended….lakers get fined for magic saying giannis would win title.. this is paying benefits to this guy and giving the uncle a place to live and expense acct..I guess clippers need to do dirty business to be a 3rd cousin to lakers.. I mean sparks are more relevant then clippers

  13. andremets

    I think the dude suing is full of crap. If it was true, why wouldn’t the Clippers pay for services rendered? Would they really risk being exposed to save $2 million? Now they will end up spending that much in legal fees.

    • Lakers1

      I’m not doubting it because Jeannie buss insinuated uncle Dennis wanted illegal perks from lakers and they refused..

    • x%sure

      Then Ballmer could get the scrutiny for paying him off.
      It is wise though to suspect him of playing sides, or who might be influencing him.

      Ballmer gets investigated often so it should not be expensive to open another one. A key point is the progress of the new stadium and whether more money for it is forthcoming from him. In theory there is, because he is funding it himself and it will open in 2024. There is that motivation for the NBA to NOT find a problem. Maybe that’s why he builds it!

  14. kylewait89

    Everyone complaining about this while other tampering goes on is a hypocrite. This was the first supposed under the table deal? In history? Really? If it’s true, it’s silly to hop on that high horse and say it’s awful like most big markets don’t do this.

    This goes to those deals agreed to before FA starts. Or minutes after? The framework just pops in to place? Nah. Someone is trying to get money. Others are trying to pretend like this is egregious whether it’s true or not.

    • x%sure

      This is an argument for the Clippers, or any dirty dealer.

      I’m sure there there have been dirty deals done before, but that’s no reason not to enforce standards now.
      Getting money squeezed out for a fancy new NBA stadium among big area plans, that’s a reason. I would hate to see this lead to an NBA title though.

      • kylewait89

        Random application of rules is exactly the reason not to do it. Tampering period goes on. This guy is suggesting he is the reason Kawhi came to the Clippers and that’s dumb as hell. He came because he wanted his team and they swung for Paul George. If they hadn’t he might be a Laker. But to say this is the time they need to crack down sounds like a bunch of Laker fans.

        And I’m not a Clippers fan. Just an objective person who laughs when the NBA pretends to care about tampering at the most random of times.

        • x%sure

          kyle is not objective and does not understand. When players talk to each other it is normal life in a country with civil rights, not tampering. When executives do it, it is recruiting. This is their standard, so they don’t poach each other’s assets; not a Silver or Laker idea.

          Quit putting players in cages, unable to talk to a other player. Quit pretending you’re neutral or understand the definitions of tampering or are even trying to get it. The application of tampering is not random and your peeves, or anyone’s, do not change them.

          It is not hard to pass money under the table. The situation is not just about Kawhi who resists understanding like you attempt, but also about Jymicl Green and Lou Williams. Fact is, the NBA has investigated the Clippers often, probably half the years Ballmer has been in charge. This includes before Lebron showed up.

  15. KnickerbockerAl

    Tampering for sure. Sounds more like a payoff. And Kawhi was in on it. Jerry is my guy still. Best eye for talent ever. We all know two contenders in LA. Is good for business. Still not a good look for NBA.

  16. washington_bonercats

    Just remember your alternative was Kawhi on the now champion Lakers

  17. El Don

    Jerry West should be finally expelled from the league & out the logo goes as well!
    Kawhi a year banned from playin’!
    LAC should loose between 5-10 1st round picks!
    Ballmer should be fined at the very least 100MM!
    All that sounds ’bout right if you ask me, but sadly they will get away with it!
    What a bunch of dislikeable people!
    But people keeps on hammering poor Harden while they keep adoring the useless Kawhi, SMH!

  18. SheaGoodbye

    I’m confused.

    On the one hand, the Clippers suck, will not win a championship, and have severely mortgaged their future for a few years of underachievement and poor chemistry.

    On the other hand, the Clippers are evil masterminds who need to be crushed by the league for putting themselves in said position. Some act as if they had put a Warriors-level superteam together and were ruining the NBA.

    If the league finds something here, sure, punish the team accordingly. But the obsession some seem to have with the Clippers is weird. Tampering happens all the time in sports. This is a non-story.

    And none of what happened is “weird”. Kawhi’s decision basically came down to the Lakers or the Clippers. Kawhi talked to PG13 who was his friend and made sense as a trade target and they both agreed that they wanted to be treated like kings wherever they ended up. The Clippers obliged and put together an insane offer to essentially procure both of them, and man did they give up a lot.

    Was a bit of tampering involved? Yes, most likely. But who cares in the end? The Lakers got their championship. The Clippers are a bit of a mess. Let’s move on. If I wanted trashy tabloid drama I would go to TMZ.

  19. Lakers1

    Now they have jerry west on a vm to this guy.. I’m thinking there’s some truth to this story.. I hope they suspend kawhi and void his contract..

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