Rich Paul Rumors
Not that anyone can be sure what Bron will do. He has always waited to the end to assess his options—then shocked everyone, leaving Cleveland for Miami in 2010 and Miami for Cleveland in 2014. On the other hand, James and his Cleveland-based people look like they’re up to something… or have millions to throw around on real estate whims, or both. Bron’s agent, Rich Paul just bought a $3 million home in Beverly Hills. Marketing point man Maverick Carter bought one in the Hollywood Hills for $3.5 million. Befitting his status as “The King,’ Bron bought one in Brentwood in December for $23 million.
Now in their fourth season since James returned, is mental fatigue taking a toll on the Cavs? Sam Amick: It’s a whole lot more complicated than the fatigue factor, and it has everything to do with the layers of dysfunction that the Cavs are battling. Cavs general manager Koby Altman is trying hard to shed the contracts of Tristan Thompson (two years, $36 million remaining) and J.R. Smith ($14.7 million next season, team option worth $15.6 million in 2019-20 with $3.8 million guaranteed), two players who were re-signed in large part because of LeBron’s omnipresent influence. They’re all represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who built the agency with a huge assist from James. As it pertains to the Cavs’ interest in the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan, a person with knowledge of that situation said Cleveland continues to offer only its own first-round pick and this kind of unwanted money in those stalled negotiations. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
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.”