The Suns and Eric Bledsoe had been at a standstill where the restricted free agent’s contract was concerned, and the sides were reportedly so far apart that Bledsoe was seriously considering playing for the one-year qualifying offer next season.
That changed on Wednesday, when the Suns came up significantly from their original offer, and agreed to a deal with Bledsoe that will reportedly be worth $70 million over five years.
Bledsoe’s agent, Rich Paul, is relatively new to the representation game, but counts LeBron James as his marquee client. Paul heard plenty of criticism during this process for what many believed was demanding too much, and steering his client in a risky direction.
Now that things have worked out just fine, LeBron took to Instagram to congratulate both Bledsoe and Paul, while taking a shot at the critics at the same time.
“Congrats to my brother @ebled2!! Family stand for each other through the good and bad! I guess we still don’t know what we doing yet huh Rich!?! #StriveForGreatness #Klutch #RWTW”
When the Suns and Bledsoe still weren’t talking, James encouraged Phoenix to “break bread” in a similar Instagram post.
It’s clear that James has more than just a rooting interest where his agent is concerned, and while there may not be a formal financial stake for him in place, the level of influence wielded by the game’s best player will only help Paul continue to land clients.
The fact that LeBron used “we” here also may unintentionally confirm that his involvement with Paul and his recently-formed Klutch Sports Group goes deeper than perhaps is appropriate, and it wouldn’t be difficult to see that as something the league takes a closer look at legislating at some point in the future.