Report: Kawhi Leonard’s Camp Asked for ‘Illegal Perks’ to Sign With Lakers - Lakers Daily

Report: Kawhi Leonard’s Camp Asked for ‘Illegal Perks’ to Sign With Lakers

Kawhi Leonard Los Angeles Clippers Brace Hemmelgarn / USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 offseason for the Los Angeles Lakers was marred by the disappointment of not being able to sign defending Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard as a free agent.

After weeks of stringing the Lakers along, Leonard ultimately opted to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Before making that final decision, however, it appears his desire to sign with the Lakers was contingent on the storied franchise’s promising illegal sweeteners to get a deal done.

“The stories about [Dennis] Robertson’s wish list made their way to the league office soon after Leonard made his decision, with concerned parties reporting that Leonard’s uncle had asked pursuing teams for much, much more than a max contract (Kawhi ultimately signed a three-year, $103 million deal with the Clippers),” Sam Amick of The Athletic reported. “Sources say the league was told that Robertson asked team officials for part ownership of the team, a private plane that would be available at all times, a house and — last but certainly not least — a guaranteed amount of off-court endorsement money that they could expect if Leonard played for their team. All of those items, to be clear, would fall well outside the confines of the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

“A source with knowledge of the Kawhi-Lakers talks said Robertson made those requests repeatedly to owner Jeanie Buss over the course of three phone calls that spanned several days, and that she made it clear that such perks were illegal and would not be considered. There was even a question raised by Robertson about why Lakers legend Magic Johnson had been given a small piece of Lakers ownership so many years ago, with Buss explaining that the two situations couldn’t have been more different – even beyond the fact that one was legal and the other was not.”

As the dialogue between the team and star player waged on, it appears Buss began to sense that Leonard’s ultimate goal was not to wear the Purple and Gold.

“Those uncomfortable discussions with Robertson, along with Buss’ growing sense at the time that the Lakers were being used as leverage to help Leonard get what he wanted out of the Clippers, are at the heart of the frustration that remains to this day,” Amick wrote. “What’s more, sources said that Robertson made similar requests of the Raptors.”

It’s a troubling report and has actually spurred action by the NBA.

“Sources say the NBA has asked the National Basketball Players Association to assist with this problem as well by re-emphasizing the rules of representation with its 400-plus players: Only certified agents are authorized to negotiate directly with teams,” Amick wrote. “Translation: No more relatives leading the way, unless they’re also certified as an agent.

“Conversely, team officials are expected to engage only with the agent of record when it comes to negotiations. The NBPA, sources say, has no issues with the league wanting to remind its players about the rules of operation.

“As one prominent agent said at the time about the league’s renewed focus on laying down the law over the summer, ‘This is because of Dennis. He didn’t know the rules.’

“Said one owner: ‘This (league-wide discussion) is all because of Uncle Dennis.’”

With all that in the past, it’s likely that the Lakers front office is more motivated than ever to win a championship this year.

Not only would it mean adding another banner to the rafters at Staples Center, it would also mean besting Leonard, a player who it seems to now have issue with at a very personal level.