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.