LeBron James’ childhood friend, Rich Paul, runs Klutch Sports, a Cleveland-based agency.
Paul was instrumental in LeBron returning to the Cavaliers, and a lot of people believe they’ll reward the agent for it.
Could that mean another Paul client, Tristan Thompson, gets a big contract extension? Or does it go further? Can Paul get anyone a favorable deal with the Cavaliers now?
Most agents and business associates of key Cavaliers players are on full alert to keep clients out of the tentacles of Klutch. The Klutch sales pitch has been predictable: Come with us, get paid with the Cavaliers.
As the season unfolds, the Klutch Sports client most are watching closest is deposed Golden State coach Mark Jackson. He has bounced agent to agent in his brief coaching career, but landing with Paul raised the suspicions of Jackson’s motives: Does Jackson think Paul can simply wedge him into the Cavaliers’ job?
Most believe that James is too smart to ever want a coach who spends far more time retweeting Twitter praise for himself than preparing his basketball team, but Jackson shouldn’t be underestimated as one of the sport’s great self-promoters. And make no mistake: If the Cavaliers struggle, it won’t be James and Kevin Love taking the blame. It’ll be coach David Blatt, who understands – even embraces – the burden.
LeBron has immense power in Cleveland, and he’s bestowed some of that upon Paul. If LeBron wants Jackson to coach the Cavaliers, Jackson will probably coach the Cavaliers. Whether it’s LeBron or Paul handling the maneuvering doesn’t really matter.
Does LeBron prefer Jackson — who was linked to the Cavaliers before they hired David Blatt — to Blatt?
Jackson implemented an extremely successful defense in Golden State, helping the Warriors get back on track. But he also ran an unimaginative offense, had curious substitution patterns and contributed to an organizational culture of distrust.
It can be difficult to assign blame from afar, but Jackson, fired by Golden State after last season, is hardly an ideal candidate to coach a championship contender.
That said, Jackson is in ideal position to get LeBron’s attention. If he ever sours on Blatt, LeBron likely won’t automatically endorse Jackson. But it only makes sense a client of an agency LeBron supposedly considers family would at least have his case heard.
By the way, how is Blatt feeling now? One game into his NBA career – a loss, which he admitted he handled poorly – and rumors are already swirling about his replacement.