Taipei, Nov 26 (CNA) A contract dispute between former NBA forward Julian Wright and the Hsinchu JKO Lioneers of Taiwan’s professional basketball P.LEAGUE + appears to be heading into a legal battle.
The 203-centimeter Wright, who played for the New Orleans Hornets and Toronto Raptors from 2007-2011, started the league’s 2020-21 inaugural season as a Lioneers player and then was signed by the team as a player development coach at the end of February. .
The dispute surfaced after Wright traveled to the United States in June to play in the BIG3 3-on-3 basketball league and finished the season in July.
Over the next four months, Wright said, he repeatedly contacted team management to arrange his return for the new season, which is set to begin Dec. 4, without ever receiving a formal response.
Wright expected the team to bring him back as the contract he signed was valid until August 2022, but they could also have terminated the deal unilaterally, as the contract allows, if they didn’t want to. let him come back.
Instead, he said, the Lioneers took no action and left him in limbo, which Wright sees as a breach of contract.
“I spent four months waiting for the team to communicate on a professional level until I realized I was now really at a disadvantage to find work elsewhere as basketball seasons started all over the world. world, “Wright said in an Instagram post on Nov. 22. .
The former NBA player also said he was denied compensation from the Lioneers for the time he planned to return and was asked for a public apology.
Lawyers representing the Lioneers contacted him to tell him that they “would not accept this request for restitution for the time I was planning to return and that Hsinchu Lioneers demanded a public apology.”
“I knew we weren’t going to come up with a mutual termination agreement and now that will be dealt with by the court system,” Wright wrote in the post, adding that he would no longer speak publicly about his contract or the dispute.
“Legal representation will soon contact the law firm that contacted me on behalf of the Hsinchu Lioneers,” he wrote.
The Lioneers are also keeping quiet about the dispute.
Responding to a question about the feud, a club spokesperson told CNA on Friday that the Lioneers would not comment further on Wright’s social media posts, but said the club disagreed with Wright’s assertion of breach of contract.
In a November 8 statement, the team said that although Wright’s contract does not expire until August 2022, it allows either party to terminate the contract unconditionally and without compensation and has said Wright wouldn’t be paid if he wasn’t with the team during the offseason. .
He said the two sides had been in communication since July to discuss a return date only to find that Wright requested in a November 5 letter to unilaterally terminate the contract, which Wright has denied.
“I had every intention of returning to Hsinchu as a player development coach and giving my 100% to help coach Greg Kuan-Lun Lin and the players,” Wright wrote in a media post. social Tuesday.
Neither Wright nor the Lioneers responded on Friday when asked whether discussions had started between lawyers for the two sides or whether legal action had been taken.