Two of the most powerful people in the NBA are Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and his agent and longtime friend Rich Paul.
The two have come a long way since James reportedly met him at an airport in Ohio, where Paul was selling authentic throwback uniforms from the trunk of his car in 2002.
James, who asked the entrepreneur to join his inner circle shortly after, brought Paul to Creative Arts Agency where he would work directly under LeBron’s former agent Leon Rose. Then, in 2012, the Klutch Sports agency was founded.
Paul started with James, Tristan Thompson, Eric Bledsoe and Cory Joseph as his only clients. Seven years later and with the addition of Golden State’s Draymond Green, Paul’s clients are earning a combined $212 million this season from their NBA salaries alone.
Paul has risen all the way up to No. 3 in total client wages this year even though he ranks No. 7 overall among his peers in total number of clients. (For what it’s worth: we rank agents based on total client wages even though agents cash in commissions based on the contracts they negotiated).
That represents a huge spike of star power for Paul in recent years thanks to the additions of All-Stars like Green, Anthony Davis and John Wall. The Washington Wizards point guard has received a super-max deal and Davis is also in line for a massive payday when he hits free agency – regardless of where he’ll be playing.
Expect Paul’s total client wages to continue increasing, as he also represents young players like Ben Simmons and Dejounte Murray who will earn a lot on their second NBA contracts since they’ll no longer be on their rookie-scale deals. The most recent prospects to hire Paul include Darius Bazley (2019), Darius Garland (2019), Miles Bridges (2018) and Terrance Ferguson (2017).
While the star power on Paul’s client list is certainly what jumps out, Klutch also represents some interesting role players. Twin brothers Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris play valuable minutes for playoff contenders. In fact, with Nerlens Noel also in the Klutch family, Paul has two clients on the Oklahoma City Thunder as they prepare for what could be a deep postseason run in the Western Conference.
This offseason, Paul’s upcoming free agents include both Morris brothers, Noel, Cory Joseph and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.