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SBD/September 14, 2012/Labor and AgentsPrint All
Heat F LeBron James has changed agents from CAA Sports to Rich Paul and “for all practical purposes, nothing at all will change as far as James' business and marketing dealings, which will continue to be handled by LRMR,” according to Ken Berger of CBSSPORTS.com. LRMR was formed by Paul, Maverick Carter and Randy Mims and has been “managing James' formidable business and marketing portfolio even while his basketball representation was handled by CAA.” The switch to Paul “had nothing to do with anything CAA did or didn't do for him, and the possibility of changing teams again when he has an early-termination option in 2014 (and then, a player option in 2015) did not factor into the discussion, either.” Still, it is “too simple to say nothing will change from the standpoint of James' basketball representation.” CAA, which rep Heat G Dwyane Wade and F Chris Bosh, “deserves credit for forming the Miami superteam built around James in July 2010.” Berger: “Any further Big Three nation building as it pertains to James will fall to his new agent, Paul, who has been learning the agent business for the past several years at CAA and whom James believes is ready for the challenge” (CBSSPORTS.com, 9/13). YAHOO SPORTS’ Eric Freeman wrote there “seems to be little reason for James to change his representation, marketing team, or the relationship between the two.” If anything, this move away from CAA “represents a consolidation of power, not a wholesale break with prior strategies.” James was the “single most important athlete in the CAA stable.” If his exit “starts a trend,” then CAA “could start to lose its considerable power.” An agency that “once looked set to take over the NBA could end up as a footnote in the league's history” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/13).
STORY JUST UNFOLDING: Grantland.com's Bill Simmons said James' move feels "like a developing story.” Simmons: “CAA has done a lot of repair work for LeBron since The Decision. ... I wonder if CAA thought there were maybe some ethical issues going on, especially if (Klutch Sports Management) is going to represent players and LeBron’s involved. Now we don’t know if he’s going to have an ownership stake in this company or not” (“PTI,” ESPN, 9/13). USA TODAY’s Jeff Zillgitt writes it “remains unclear whether Paul will bring other players from CAA” to his new firm, Klutch Sports Management. It is “likely Klutch will target top players coming out of college basketball, and James brings automatic cachet to the agency” (USA TODAY, 9/14).