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Volume 24 No. 115

Labor and Agents

Grantland’s Bill Simmons speculated in his podcast that Heat F LeBron James could leave his current agent, CAA’s Rich "Shorty" Paul, and sign with CAA-backed Roc Nation Sports Agency, operated by Jay-Z. Simmons said of Leon Rose, who was James’ agent before Paul and is "tied in" with CAA agent William "Wes" Wesley, “It can’t be great if you're Leon Rose and you lose LeBron James. I can’t think of any scenario where that’s great. It’s not good for Wes, Wes is tied in, he’s inner circle.” Simmons said, “Why would you launch your agency if you're Jay-Z and the name that you announce is Robinson Cano?” ESPN’s Jalen Rose added of Jay-Z, “He’s also alleged to have Nerlens Noel out of Kentucky.” Simmons: “Who is tight with Kentucky?” Rose: “You see LeBron James at Kentucky games right? You see Jay-Z at Kentucky games right?” Simmons: “Who is ‘Patient X’ for all of this? ‘World Wide Wes,’ who is tighter in with that Kentucky program than anybody.” Simmons said of James moving from agent to agent, “If you're Wes and you want to take LeBron from point A to point B which is to take him from CAA to Jay-Z, to make it seem like you're pulling him from Leon, your buddy to Jay-Z your buddy, without it having to really be contentious, maybe you make a little stop, now you're making a point A to point C.” Simmons added, “Secretly, you’ve launched Shorty’s business. Shorty has all these athletes, now Shorty has his turf, Leon’s fine, LeBron stayed with CAA, Jay-Z launches the thing and now you have two kings global.” Simmons: “I think that’s how this plays out, I have no inside information whatsoever, the whole thing seems fishy to me." He added, "I refuse to believe that 'World Wide Wes' isn’t involved in the Jay-Z thing" (, 4/25).

DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE: USA TODAY's Sam Amick wrote the time has "officially come to stop romanticizing the relationship with James and Wesley, and not only because of the obvious fact that the soon-to-be four-time MVP was willing to leave him behind and work with Paul in a partnership that isn't ending anytime soon." The reality is that James has "long since moved on from that overhyped chapter." A source said that James and Wesley "hardly, if ever, speak these days." While Jay-Z and James are "known to be close friends, there is no reason to believe discussions of any sort are taking place between the titans of their respective industries about this kind of plan" (, 4/27).