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Report: Union expected to broker settlement between Nerlens Noel and Rich Paul

Knicks center Nerlens Noel

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 11: Nerlens Noel #3 of the New York Knicks in action against the Toronto Raptors during a game at Madison Square Garden on April 11, 2021 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Raptors 102-96. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

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Knicks center Nerlens Noel is suing agent Rich Paul. Paul filed a grievance against Noel with the National Basketball Players Association.

How will this saga end?

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report:

The majority of league sources contacted by B/R do expect the union to settle some type of agreement between these two parties

Maybe the union will help both sides resolve their dispute.

But Noel claims Paul owes him money. Paul claims Noel owes him money.

That’s a tough gap to overcome.

There’s a substantial difference in the payment each side is seeking.

Noel’s lawsuit centers on Paul advising him to reject a four-year, $70 million offer from the Mavericks in 2017 then not actually working to secure Noel bigger contracts in the ensuing years. Noel had a combined salary of just $12,973,622 the previous four seasons.

Paul wants to be paid a $200,000 commission on Noel’s Knicks contract last season (4% of Noel’s $5 million salary). In his lawsuit, Noel argues “Paul played virtually no role” in the deal.

However, Paul likely has a better chance of winning his action than Noel does his.

It’s difficult to hold an agent civilly liable for unmet promises about future contracts. What Noel describes as Paul not doing his duty by not taking or returning calls from teams could be described by Paul as playing hardball, a strategy that has been successful for the agent previously. Or Paul, who has yet to respond publicly, could flat deny Noel’s charges.

As for Paul’s grievance, even Noel admits he didn’t fire Paul until after signing with the Knicks last year.

So, what’s a resolution both sides would accept? Apparently, the union will try to find out.