Sources: LeBron James Leaving CAA Along With Agent Rich Paul
Heat F LeBron James is leaving CAA Sports to be represented by Rich Paul, a longtime friend who was working at CAA as an agent, but who also is leaving the agency, sources said. CAA declined comment. Paul, a childhood friend of James who founded his marketing company, LRMR Marketing, said, "Not true," when asked if he had left CAA. Asked if he and James were leaving CAA, Paul said, "I can't talk about anything right now." Paul said, "I'll call you back" and did then not return phone calls. LRMR Marketing CEO Maverick Carter did not return an e-mail or a call to his cell. James' publicist, Adam Mendelsohn, declined comment last night. James has been represented by Leon Rose since ’05 and has been with CAA since ‘07 after the agency bought Rose's firm. Paul joined CAA as an agent a few years ago. He informed CAA that he was leaving earlier this week. A source said paperwork in which James terminated Rose as his agent was filed with the NBPA yesterday. Paul is forming a company called Klutch Sports Management. It was not clear what other agents or players might be part of the new agency. A source said, "This had nothing to do with CAA. It had to do with Rich wanting to start a company and LeBron wanting to be with Rich" (Liz Mullen, SportsBusiness Journal).
MOVING FORWARD: In Ft. Lauderdale, Ira Winderman notes Paul has “emerged with a significant roster of clients of his own," including Bobcats F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cavaliers F Tristan Thompson and Trail Blazers G Jonny Flynn. A source said that James’ parting with CAA “is amicable and is not a reflection of any James unease with CAA,” and teammates G Dwyane Wade and F Chris Bosh -- who are also repped by CAA -- have both been “made aware of the impending move.” Winderman notes the CAA link “was cited among the factors that brought the three stars together during 2010 free agency” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 9/13). ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst cited sources as saying that James is “not making the move because of any hard feelings with Rose or his longtime partner William ‘Wes’ Wesley” (ESPN.com, 9/12). YAHOO SPORTS’ Marc Spears writes Paul is “working to soon become officially certified as an agent.” His new agency will be “based in his hometown of Cleveland” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/13).