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Report: J.R. Smith hiring LeBron James’ agent, Rich Paul

Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers

CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 23: J.R. Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James #23 warm up on the court prior to the game against the Chicago Bulls at Quicken Loans Arena on January 23, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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The players union is enforcing a rule that bans agents from representing players and management.

But what if a player is the de facto general manager?

J.R. Smith – who plays for LeBron James’ Cavaliers – is testing the rule’s limits.

Chris Haynes of

Smith is in the process of parting ways with Creative Artists Agency and plans to sign with Rich Paul of Cleveland-based Klutch Sports, league sources informed

Paul, of course, represents LeBron (and Tristan Thompson, who got a fat deal with Cleveland after holding out last year). Paul is reportedly selling potential clients on getting paid by the Cavs.

Smith’s only mistake was not hiring Paul sooner.

Hiring CAA, who were in deep with the Knicks, probably helped Smith get a more lucrative contract in New York (and one for his brother). But the agency did Smith no favors in Cleveland. Smith opted out last summer and wound up with what most would consider to be a worse deal.

Smith has another player option this summer. With Paul and LeBron on his side, Smith will have more leverage this time.

At least if LeBron stays.