HoopsHype Rich Paul rumors

August 18, 2014 Updates

Paul and James first crossed paths in the Akron-Canton Airport as they were about to board a flight to Atlanta. James, captivated by Paul’s Warren Moon throwback jersey, asked where he got it. It turned out that Paul was selling jerseys out of the trunk of his car and was going to Atlanta to buy more. He gave James his connection in Atlanta, and he told him to drop his name for a discount, and then went on his way. “It was fate,” Paul said. “I could have missed the plane. I could have taken an earlier flight. I could have not worn the jersey. I could have been having a bad day and not spoken to him.” New York Times

They traveled to Amateur Athletic Union tournaments together and played pickup games — Paul was a member of two state championship teams at Benedictine. But mostly they talked: about their favorite television shows and girlfriends, about the classmates at their respective Catholic schools and the affluence they took for granted, about the friends from the neighborhood that they had lost to jail or worse. They also talked about the grind that Gloria James and Rich Paul Sr. endured as single parents and the wisdom and drive each had handed down to them. “He had all these life skills that he got from his dad, and pretty soon I had all these people ask me, ‘Why do you have this Cleveland guy around?’ ” James said. New York Times

It did not get far. Not long after the Cavaliers drafted James out of high school with their top pick in the 2003 N.B.A. draft, he handed a paycheck over to Paul. It was Paul’s first two weeks of a $50,000 annual salary, to do what, exactly, neither of them knew. “He told me that he really didn’t have a job for me, but that he wanted me close and we’d figure it out,” Paul said. Maverick Carter and Randy Mims, two lifelong friends of James’s, were also put on the payroll, and the “Four Horsemen” were born. They had a signature handshake, and they put a silhouette of a knight on their tennis shoes. They promised one another that they would be more than an entourage or posse. They did not know how yet, but James said he knew that he was making a sound investment. New York Times

No one was surprised that Paul was good at recruiting talent, bringing aboard N.B.A. players like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Tristan Thompson and Eric Bledsoe. In a bruising business long on paranoia and short on friends, Paul had earned a reputation as a smart, straight-shooting negotiator. “He is a really good communicator and knows the basketball side real well — I could see him on our side of the game someday,” said David Griffin, the Cavaliers’ general manager. New York Times

This summer, Paul told Griffin that James was interested in returning, but said there were no guarantees. “Once LeBron started getting serious about Cleveland, I knew he needed to sit with Dan in person,” said Paul. “He had to talk to him directly.” On July 6, Gilbert flew to South Florida to meet with James. They sat down at the kitchen table, and Gilbert apologized for the letter and “one terrible” night that had eclipsed the previous five rewarding years together. It was clear as well that James was ready to move on, but he was perhaps even more interested in whether the Cavs had the money to immediately build a championship team. Gilbert assured James the Cavs had the resources and were willing to use them. New York Times

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July 7, 2014 Updates

Several NBA executives that are in Orlando for Summer League that tried to get an audience with James said frankly that they did not believe there was a window to obtain James away from Miami and that all the meetings and posturing from James’ side was more about agent Rich Paul using his uncertainty to get meetings for his other clients including restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe. Basketball Insiders

Rich Paul, the president of Klutch Sports, has been funneling belief into the organization that the Cavaliers are in strong position to lure James from the Miami Heat, sources told Yahoo Sports. For years, Paul has confided to people that bringing back James to Cleveland has been something of a mission for him, and he's encouraging Cavaliers officials to offer no restraint in the recruitment of James, sources said. Yahoo! Sports

LeBron James and his agent, Rich Paul, plan on meeting with Miami Heat president Pat Riley in person early this week, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the talks. James is a free agent, and the revelation that he will be sitting down with Riley soon is surely comforting to Heat fans who have every reason to wonder if he may be heading elsewhere soon. USA Today Sports

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