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Report: NBA investigated whether LeBron James owns share of Klutch Sports agency

Rémy Martin and Klutch Sports Group Toast Their All Stars in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 18: (L-R) John Wall, CEO of Klutch Sports Group Rich Paul and LeBron James attend the Rémy Martin and Klutch Sports Group toast their All Stars event on February 18, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Remy Martin)

Erika Goldring

LeBron James is training with Eric Bledsoe, which sparked rumors about the Suns guard being included in a trade for Kyrie Irving.

But LeBron and Bledsoe have worked out together in previous years, and obviously Phoenix never traded Bledsoe to the Cavaliers.

LeBron and Bledsoe share an agent, Rich Paul. Paul – in addition to bigger names like John Wall and Ben Simmons – also represents Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith, who’ve both signed lucrative contracts with Cleveland.

LeBron and Paul are longtime friends, and the superstar has described Paul’s Klutch Sports Group and its clients as family. No player is as connected to an agency as LeBron. Hence, people connecting the dots to Bledsoe being included in an Irving trade.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement prohibits players from owning interest in an agency, though. Has LeBron’s arrangement with Klutch crossed any lines?

Brian Windhorst of ESPN on The Basket Analogy:

LeBron doesn’t have any ownership in Klutch Sports.
The NBA investigated it and said LeBron doesn’t have ownership.

The NBA should check things like this. But of course LeBron doesn’t own a stake in the agency.

LeBron has empowered his friends – most notably Paul, Maverick Carter and Randy Mims – professionally. This isn’t about money from agent fees. It’s about influence.

Paul can sell it when recruiting players. The Cavs probably felt it while negotiating with Thompson and Smith. LeBron’s ego might feel it at times, too.

And that’s fine. LeBron has earned influence. I don’t mind him exercising it.

If he gets equity in the deal, that’s a problem. But it’s clear the power is sufficient.