A new report alleges that Los Angeles Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard’s uncle, Dennis Robertson, made several requests when negotiating with the Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors during the free agency period, all of which were in violation of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement.
Citing a report from Sam Amick of The Athletic, Bleacher Report wrote on Monday that Robertson allegedly told both the Lakers and the Raptors that Leonard would need a house, access to a private plane, a partial ownership share, and a guaranteed amount of money from endorsements in order for him to commit with the teams. Per Amick, Lakers controlling owner Jeanie Buss specifically denied these requests, though it wasn’t mentioned whether Raptors officials had a similar reaction to the illegal stipulations.
In addition to the accusations that Robertson made the above requests, Amick also claimed that there was some “resentment” within the Lakers over how the negotiations went down, as further cited by Bleacher Report.
“The Lakers ultimately waited out Leonard’s free-agency decision in part because an unidentified player was told Kawhi wanted to sign with the franchise,” the publication wrote. “The process caused them to miss out on a number of potential free agents, watching Kawhi and Paul George team up with the rival Clippers.”
‼️ BATTLE OF LA ‼️@KingJames, @AntDavis23 and the Lakers take on @kawhileonard, @Yg_Trece and the Clippers on ESPN and ABC to headline five #NBAXmas games!— NBA (@NBA) December 21, 2019
????: December 25th
????: @LAClippers at @Lakers (8pm/et) pic.twitter.com/Uoiup2mNVb
At the moment, the NBA has yet to find any proof that the Clippers convinced Leonard to sign with the team in July by offering him and/or Robertson any benefits not covered by the collective bargaining agreement. However, The Athletic’s report did quote NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who said that the league is in the process of investigating several “activities” that took place during the offseason free agency period.
“We have and we continue to look at it, but first and foremost we want to change the way business is done going forward,” he continued.
While Silver did not offer any details on the activities he was referring to, Bleacher Report speculated that the Clippers’ punishment could be “historic” if it is found that the team violated the CBA by offering certain benefits to Leonard. The outlet brought up the example of the Minnesota Timberwolves, who were fined $3.5 million and lost out on the rights to five future first-round draft picks for signing big man Joe Smith to a free-agent contract in 2000 that ran afoul of the NBA’s salary cap rules.
The new report comes five months after some purported details of Robertson’s talks with the Raptors emerged, just days after Leonard agreed to sign with the Clippers. Per these earlier reports, the former two-time Defensive Player of the Year’s uncle was “hard to deal with” and made several demands that players “don’t generally ask for” when he spoke to the defending league champions.