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.”
If no deal is reached in those 90 days, the minority owners have another 60 to name a price for the team — and bid on Pera’s stake at that price, according to several sources familiar with the process. (The minority owners could also punt, and stick with the status quo.) That bid would be essentially binding. Pera would have two choices: sell at that price, or buy the minority owner’s stake at that same valuation.
Mark Berman: #Rockets owner @TilmanJFertitta on his franchise, the hottest team in the NBA: “10 in a row and what 17 of 18, I’m definitely being trained not to experience losses….I think the line between us and Golden State is very thin right now.”
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.”
Bill Doyle: I asked Mark Cuban if he was known more as a Shark or as the Mavericks owner. He said more people know him as a Shark because the show is on TV so often, but he said at the Garden he’s probably known more as the Mavs owner.