But on this night, the visual of LeBron James’ agent sitting next to the Lakers owner was enough to spin the NBA world off its axis. Forget that Rich Paul (LeBron’s agent) sometimes sits courtside in Washington with Zach Leonsis, the son of owner Ted Leonsis, where client John Wall recently got a $170 million extension. Or that Paul occasionally sits with 76ers part owner Michael Rubin in Philadelphia, where he represents star rookie Ben Simmons. Or that a few days later, Paul was in Denver, sitting with Nuggets GM Tim Connolly. Paul sitting with Buss had to mean something. Or nothing. Or everything. “If you know me,” Paul told ESPN. “You know it doesn’t mean anything other than I enjoy their company.”
Also sticking to past protocol, LeBron James himself has resisted any attempt to comment on his impending free agency. Before the season, he said he “won’t ever cheat my teammates or cheat the franchise … by talking about free agency all year long, because I’m not gonna give energy to something I can handle in the summertime.” “LeBron is focused on this season and winning a championship,” Paul said. “At the appropriate time, we will explore all the options. Now is not the time.”
Noah Coslov: From BJ Armstrong with us @SiriusXMNBA on Derrick Rose: “It has been a process…he had to evaluate where he was in his life. He took time to digest everything.” – On surgery: “I don’t know what he needs right now, but he had a severe ankle sprain.”
Where is Nerlens Noel going to have the surgery? In Cleveland, hometown of LeBron James and a headquarters for agent Rich Paul, who reps both LeBron and Noel and yeah, it’s kind of an open secret now that the fellas are plotting ways to end up together, maybe next July 1 via free agency to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Changing agents is nothing new in the NBA, especially for Jordan, who had employed three different agencies to represent him in contract negotiations in his first seven seasons. When DeAndre Jordan fired Dan Fegan in 2015, whose cozy relationship with Mavs owner Mark Cuban cast a shadow over the initial decision to sign with Dallas, Jordan was required by players association rules to wait 15 days to hire a new one. “He was deciding between Jeff [Schwartz] and Rich Paul,” a person familiar with Jordan’s thinking told Bleacher Report. “I had heard back then that he was 100 percent signing with Jeff.”
After the season, Jordan can opt out of the four-year, $87.6 million deal he signed with the Clippers in 2015. And with the Clippers situated precariously in the ultra-competitive Western Conference, numerous teams have inquired about Jordan’s availability as the February trade deadline approaches. Both are scenarios that Jordan, 29, would be ill-suited to navigate without an agent. “It’s so hard to know otherwise what’s going on,” a person who advises several NBA stars told B/R. “I look at it like this: If you play for a team, is the team ever really going to tell you, ‘We’re trying to trade you?’ How do you get a guy to buy in after that?”