Johnny Wilkes claims Jerry West and the Clippers agreed to pay him to help lure Kawhi Leonard and funnel money to Leonard’s adviser/uncle Dennis Robertson – which would be a flagrant case of salary-cap circumvention.
Wilkes is suing West and the Clippers, alleging they didn’t pay him the $2.5 million they promised.
Part of that lawsuit is a voicemail purportedly from West during Leonard’s 2019 free agency. TMZ obtained the audio.
Hey there. This is Jerry calling. I really want to thank you a lot for trying to help. I heard this morning that everyone over in the Lakers camp thinks they’re going to get him. I just find that hard to believe that he would want to go to that s*** show, where he would not even be – wouldn’t even get his name in the paper. And he wouldn’t be the face of the franchise. That’s for sure. He might be the best player on the team. But hope things are well and again, I really, really appreciate everything you’ve done. I’ll keep you apprised of what goes on. But I do want to get together with you privately and would love to take you to dinner – and even Sam if he’s around – so I can at least pay my respects to you guys for being so generous and helpful. Take care. Talk to you sometime soon. Bye-bye.
Sam is Sam Watson, according to TMZ.
West denied wrongdoing, and Leonard said Wilkes had nothing to do with him choosing the Clippers. The NBA is investigating.
If anything, the voicemail seems to support West’s case. He doesn’t sound like someone who promised to pay Wilkes $2.5 million. The offer seems like dinner. That said, Wilkes might claim a $2.5 million offer getting downgraded to dinner is precisely way he’s suing.
Ironically, the Clippers turned out to be the s*** show. Even without Leonard, the Lakers won the championship.
But West has reason to be bitter toward the Lakers, and they did look particularly chaotic at the time. West was also right about LeBron James – in delightfully antiquated terms – taking up all the ink in the paper.
However, LeBron has earned so much attention because he’s the type of player who, even amid drama, lifts his teams to such great heights.