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Agent files suit against Raptors coach Nick Nurse, seeking commission for contract extension

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A prominent agent who represents NBA coaches and executives has filed a civil lawsuit against Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse for breach of contract and seeks financial relief.

Warren LeGarie — who represents several NBA head coaches, assistant coaches and front-office executives — said in his claim, “Defendant Nurse failed to do certain things required by the representation contract.

“Among other things, Defendant Nurse failed to abide by the terms of the representation contract, failed to pay Plaintiffs the amounts due under the representation contract, and failed to disclose to Plaintiffs the amount of the employment contract he entered into with the Toronto Raptors for the 2020-2021 through 2023-2024 NBA seasons, thus denying Plaintiffs the opportunity to be paid for commissions wed on Defendant NURSE’s employment contract for the 2020-2021 through 2023-2024 NBA seasons.”

Nurse is now represented by Andy Miller, who joined Rich Paul’s Klutch Sports Group as head of the agency's coaching division. Miller also represents new Portland coach Chauncey Billups.

In September, the Raptors announced they reached an agreement on contract extension with Nurse. The lawsuit claims Nurse’s salary for 2020-21 was readjusted to the $6-8 million range and the four-year extension was worth $32 million, making him one of the league's highest-paid coaches.

Raptors coach Nick Nurse signed a contract extension in September that makes him one of the league's highest-paid coaches.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse signed a contract extension in September that makes him one of the league's highest-paid coaches.

LeGarie seeks commission for the portion of the contract he says he negotiated.

LeGarie’s attorney, Hunter Pyle, said in a statement, “Warren LeGarie has successfully represented numerous NBA head coaches and executives for more than two decades. He represented Nick Nurse for over seven years and successfully negotiated several contracts for him pursuant to the same agent agreement that is the subject of this lawsuit. Mr. LeGarie employed his considerable experience and relationships in the NBA to help advance the career of Mr. Nurse as he progressed from an assistant to the head coach of the Toronto Raptors. The lawsuit speaks for itself as to the facts and law on the matter. I have nothing more to say about the case at this time.”

In the complaint filed in U.S. District Court Northern District of California, LeGarie claims he and his business, LeGarie Management, Inc., entered into an oral contract to represent Nurse in contract negotiations with NBA teams in or around 2013. LeGarie’s complaint says he offered to represent Nurse in exchange for a 3% commission on Nurse’s head coaching contracts and 4% commissioner on assistant coach contracts.

“We are very disappointed that this case got filed, but we respect the legal process and Nick will defend himself vigorously,” Jerry Crawford, one of Nurse’s attorneys said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports.

Nurse paid invoices on his contracts from 2015-16 through the 2018-19 season, according to the complaint, and shortly after the Raptors won the NBA championship, LeGarie began negotiating a four-year extension and renegotiation of the 2020-21 season contract for Nurse with Toronto president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster, according to the complaint.

LeGarie also represents Webster.

In the spring of 2020, LeGarie says after nine months of work on contract negotiations, “Defendant Nurse breached his representation contract with Plaintiffs and instructed Plaintiffs to not proceed in any further negotiation discussions involving Defendant NURSE’s employment with the Toronto Raptors.”

Follow Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Nick Nurse: Agent sues Raptors coach for breach of contract