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Volume 24 No. 156

Labor and Agents

Klutch Sports Group Founder Rich Paul is "not only the agent with the NBA's biggest talent on his client list, but he's also the Cleveland man who is building a solid foundation with his agency with potential for it to blossom into something much larger," according to Jodie Valade of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Paul at one point "was known only as a member" of Heat F LeBron James’ "closest inner circle." His "ambition to represent players" led him to CAA, where he worked with agent Leon Rose for a number of years before he and James left CAA in September to start Klutch. Cavaliers F Tristan Thompson, who also is represented by Paul, said, "Most of these agents are lawyers and really don't know anything about basketball. With Rich having the basketball experience, he learned a lot from Leon Rose (at CAA) and all the other guys he's been around. But in terms of the basketball side, he probably knows more than most agents out there." Paul has "seen mistakes and triumphs with James, and learned from each." He "spent three years garnering knowledge from Rose at CAA." He recently brought Cleveland-based agent Mark Termini "on board at Klutch to help with contract negotiations -- the most noted weakness of the 32-year-old Paul." Termini "gives Klutch a legitimate business arm to go along with the personal touch Paul delivers so naturally." Paul said, "It's not about legitimacy. You can't worry about what people say. At the end of the day it's a relationship-based business." Paul opted to "keep his headquarters in Cleveland." New Klutch offices are "being built downtown, and he hopes to move in later this spring" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 3/10).