New allegations imperil the Los Angeles Clippers’ plan to become a relevant NBA franchise when they signed former Toronto Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard. Their alleged conduct could mean the 2019 NBA Finals MVP could return to Toronto.
The summer of 2019 was bittersweet for the Toronto Raptors franchise and their fanbase. It was a year in which they captured the biggest prize in NBA competition, the Larry O’Brien Trophy, by winning the NBA Finals.
They did it on the strength of Kawhi Leonard’s outstanding playoff performance in which he was ultimately named the Finals MVP. However, the sweet turned bitter when just before 11 pm Eastern Standard Time on July 5th, 2019, word arrived that Kawhi Leonard would sign with the Los Angeles Clippers ending his brief experience as a free agent.
Shortly after his departure, news started leaking about how the negotiations were conducted and details of some of the requests made from Kawhi Leonard’s camp of the Toronto Raptors and other teams during his free agency.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith back then talked about some of Leonard’s uncle Dennis Robertson’s list of requirements for his nephew’s signature, such as:
"“Allegedly, the uncle, Uncle Dennis, was asking for a lot of stuff from the other teams. Houses, planes, sponsorship, guaranteed sponsorship money, just as an example. They’re throwing this stuff out there. All of those things are supposedly illegal in the collective bargaining agreement.”"
If true, some of these requests could be deemed illegal, violating the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement. Yet, it’s been over a year since Leonard signed with the Clippers, and the NBA has not sanctioned the team in any way.
Within the last week, new allegations surrounding the Los Angeles Clippers recruitment of Kawhi Leonard have surfaced in a lawsuit filed by a man named Johnny Wilkes. Wilkes claims to be a best friend of Leonard’s uncle Dennis Robertson and is owed 2.5 million by Jerry West due to an oral agreement to assist in Kawhi Leonard’s recruitment.