Rich Paul’s The NBA’s Latest King Maker

The agent still holds all the cards to the NBA’s next potential dynasty

After disillusioned Lakers fans calmed down and the dust on the Anthony Davis trade settles, it will be clear as day that Rich Paul and Klutch Sports got what they wanted in the end. The culturally-transformative agent still holds all the cards to the NBA’s next potential dynasty

All of the drama surrounding Jeanie Buss and her front office confidants’ power struggle with LeBron and Paul amounted to much of nothing. In the end, LeBron also got what he wanted and Lakers GM Rob Pelinka gave the Pelicans a pretty package to land another Top 5 player. 

Paul won again. He got his guy by any means necessary.

Adding fuel to the recent Lakers win are whisperings that it’s a “strong possibility” that free agent Kawhi Leonard may choose to play with Bron and Davis, which would immediately make the Lakers the consensus favorites to win the 2020 NBA title.

Kawhi took an unheralded Raptors squad all the way to the championship and he’s expressed a desire to return home to California and join either the LA Clippers or the Lakers. There are cap space issues and timing glitches with that scenario, but the fact that the Lakers are at a point where they can even hope for such a gift implies that Rich Paul is coming through with everything he promised to help LeBron get back to the NBA Finals. 



It wasn’t the wheeling and dealing of the Lakers’ dysfunctional front office that got this deal done. It wasn’t the lure of playing with LeBron James because as we’ve come to see in recent years, that appeal has worn off.

It was the relationships that Paul has been able to establish and the leverage he holds in player negotiations that makes him the most dangerous black businessman in the sport. The way he wills himself and the situation to fruition, all the while telegraphing his moves in a display of confidence that has ruffled the feathers of the establishment.

Paul once again proved that he is just as influential a part of LeBron James’ NBA rise as The King himself. Paul stays a step ahead of the game, to make sure LeBron doesn’t fall too far behind.

Last year was a disaster. Everything just went wrong. James got hurt for the first time, the AD trade was botched and there was a lot of internal unrest.

Paul always has a card to play. Taking minor L’s and switching strategies is just a part of the hustle. Whether New Orleans wanted to deal with the Lakers or not, the fact that Anthony Davis and LeBron are both Paul’s clients gave the agent an upper hand from jump street.

First, he charged in like a bull and tried to force a trade during the season.  When that tactic didn’t work, it made the Lakers hierarchy look bad and started a domino effect that decimated the chemistry and eventually led to Magic Johnson’s resignation and a power struggle at the top of the organization. Paul and Davis were reprimanded for their boldness.

The rumor was that Paul and Bron were controlling the Lakers and that perception alone caused a rift in the structure. For a second there, the Lakers were worse than Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Then all of a sudden, the Anthony Davis trade winds picked up again last year’s drama means nothing as the Lakers finally got him into the fold.  There are some fools lamenting the departure of Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks — including the No. 4 selection in next week’s draft — to the Pelicans.

The majority of the hoops world, however, knows that this a trade that benefits the Lakers and James’ short-term championship goals. The fact that the Pelicans recouped potential riches is no surprise and really isn’t the point. 

In addition, the Lakers kept Kyle Kuzma, who is the best of their young players.

The line of superstar succession is now set in Los Angeles for the next decade. AD will eventually take over as the future of the franchise, definitely within the next three years.  With this being LeBron James’ last stop in his iconic career, now is the time to go for a title. The future is irrelevant until James retires. 

Maybe Lakers fans will wind up lamenting this signing as they did the Steve Nash and Dwight Howard pickups at the end of Kobe’s run. I seriously doubt it. Finding pieces to put around two all-world players won’t be too hard. Getting Kyrie Irving is still in play and they will need another perimeter shooter.

Either way, the genius of Rich Paul takes center stage again. At one point it appears as if New Orleans would never trade AD to the Lakers. Then they got the No 1 pick and Davis wasn’t as important to the franchise anymore. Zion Williamson is the new toy and a marketing machine.

Paul and Bron schemed on Anthony Davis from the beginning.  They didn’t hide it.  It was written on a wall forever.

They don’t care if the young boys on the Lakers got offended because most of those guys weren’t going to be here by the summer anyway.

As the legend of LeBron James begins to flatline, the mythical rise of Paul takes center stage and if the Lakers raise championship banners in the next two years, they have the masterful maneuvering of the NBA’s genius and renegade King Maker to thank for that. 

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