Kawhi Leonard’s Former Agent Sues Former Employer
Brian Elfus, a veteran sports agent, represented college basketball standout Kawhi Leonard as he transitioned from San Diego State to the NBA. Elfus is now suing his former boss Mitchell Frankel and his former employer Impact Sports Basketball, Impact, JS Sports Funding LLC, and J&J Sports Agency MM LLC (defendants), for wrongful deprivation of agent fees, which included the agent fees derived from Leonard as well as other professional basketball players and coaches. According to the complaint, “Elfus generated over [$5 million] in commissions during the six years of his business relationship with Impact Sports Basketball.” However, “Elfus was not compensated accordingly.” According to the complaint, Elfus is entitled to commissions either (1) per a contractual agreement; (2) other oral and written promises made to Mr. Elfus; and/or (3) based on the unjust enrichment.
In December 2010, Elfus entered into an agreement with Impact Sports Basketball LLC (ISB). “[W]herein ISB guaranteed Mr. Elfus an annual salary, an annual budget to cover business-related expenses and professional basketball player contract-related commissions.” The ISB agreement required ISB to pay Elfus a 75 percent commission on profits derived by ISB from clients that Mr. Elfus represented prior to December 15, 2010 and 60 percent commission on profits derived from clients enlisted after. “However, Mr. Elfus received no specific commissions for six (6) years working as an employee at ISB though bi-monthly unallocated payments were made.”
On April 14, 2011, the now two-time NBA All-Star, two-time All-NBA First Team and 2014 NBA Champion, Leonard entered the 2011 NBA Draft. Leonard selected Elfus as his National Basketball Players Association certified player agent. As his agent, Elfus ensured that “Leonard maintained a squeaky clean reputation,” and also assisted in negotiating (1) a four-year $8.3 million contract with the San Antonio Spurs; (2) marketing deals with Jordan Brand, BBVA, and Wingstop; and (3) most notably, a contract on July 16, 2015 that would guarantee Mr. Leonard almost $100 million. According to some, Elfus had a great rapport with the Spurs; however, when Elfus left Leonard’s representative team, to start his own sports management company in 2016, Leonard’s relationship with the franchise soured. After the July 2016 contract, Elfus has several email and oral communications with the Defendants, where the parties agreed that Elfus was due an increased percentage of fees emanating from those commissions collected from the Leonard contract.
Elfus is now suing the defendants claiming that the defendants failed to pay him commission that he is owed as a result of negotiating various player and coaching contracts. Specifically, Elfus is sing for two counts of breach of contract, unjust enrichment, promissory estoppel, and fraudulent misrepresentation.