As we passed along last night, LeBron James has decided to leave the Creative Artists Agency and join a newly-formed agency led by childhood friend Rich Paul. Eric Freeman of Yahoo! Sports' Ball Don't Lie blog rightly points out that the move won't have a huge effect on LeBron's next contract — he'll get maximum-salary offers no matter who is representing him. However, as Freeman notes, James had been CAA's most prominent NBA client, and if other players follow him away from the agency, the agency's considerable power in the Association could begin to dwindle.
A handful of reporters have added a few more details to the story, so let's round up a few notes from Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com….
- Paul's new agency will be called the Klutch Sports Group, and he is expected to take some of his clients with him to the new Cleveland-based firm. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Tristan Thompson, Eric Bledsoe, and Cory Joseph are among Paul's clients.
- LeBron leaves CAA on good terms, with no hard feelings — the move isn't seen as a breakup, but more as a partnership with Paul, who is already involved in LeBron's marketing through the LRMR marketing group.
- Chris Paul is a CAA client, but is good friends with LeBron and Rich Paul. It's not clear whether he'll consider joining the Klutch group with his free agency a year away.
- LeBron's change of agents wasn't influenced by his 2014 opt-out clause, and shouldn't be interpreted as an indication that he plans to opt out.