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Monday, July 15, 2024

Rich Paul, Klutch Sports Hit With Breach of Contract Lawsuit in Federal Court

  • NBA agent Mark Termini says the agency stopped paying him the agreed percentage for his role in contract negotiations.
  • Klutch is one of the most powerful sports agencies, most notably representing LeBron James.
Feb 25, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Sports agent Rich Paul attends the game between the LA Clippers and the Sacramento Kings at the Crypto.com Arena.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday morning, one of the most powerful sports agencies got hit with a lawsuit in federal court over breach of contract.

Mark Termini, an NBA agent who has negotiated deals over the years for players like Ron Harper and Rod Strickland, filed a complaint in the Northern District of Ohio along with his company against Klutch Sports Group and its founder, Rich Paul. Klutch is known for representing athletes like LeBron James, A’ja Wilson, and Draymond Green.

The suit says that Klutch owes Termini more than $4.9 million plus interest. That’s because, the suit claims, Termini signed a contract in 2014 that later was extended until December ’20 with terms that he would receive 25% of Klutch’s agency fees for all its NBA clients’ deals. But after negotiating key contracts that helped raise the profile of the agency—including James, Green, Ben Simmons, and J.R. Smith—Klutch started paying Termini less than 25% around ’18, the suit says. The payments went back to the original amount before lowering again, according to the complaint.

“Rather than attempt to renegotiate the written Agreement with MTA (Mark Termini Associates Inc.) and Termini, KSG and Paul began to unilaterally and improperly submit payments to MTA and Termini at such lesser amounts,” the suit claims.

The suit also claims Klutch took the credit for some of the high-profile deals Termini negotiated.

“Despite Termini being the lead (and substantively the only) negotiator at all points of the player contract negotiation process, KSG and Paul individually and collectively took public credit in the media for the contracts negotiated by Termini in order to enhance Paul’s industry reputation and the value of the KSG agency,” says the suit.

A Klutch spokesperson called the lawsuit “inaccurate and misguided,” saying it will be “addressed in the proper forum.” Their side of the story should hit the courts in the coming weeks.

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