The leverage that LeBron James has with his player option for 2015/16 has been overstated, since his reputation and brand simply couldn’t sustain the negative publicity that leaving Cleveland a second time would engender, opines Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The Cavs’ upset loss to the Knicks in James’ first regular season game in Cleveland since his return this summer was a sobering affair for the wine-and-gold, and Wojnarowski’s column further dampens what had largely been a feel-good narrative for the team. Wojnarowski shares more than just his beliefs in his piece, and we’ll pass along the newsworthy tidbits here:
- At least one executive from a team believes that when clubs met with agent Rich Paul during James’ free agency this summer, the agent was just stringing them along, as the exec tells Wojnarowski.
- Paul doesn’t negotiate contracts for his Klutch Sports clients, instead delegating that task to Mark Termini, according to Wojnarowski. The agency wouldn’t exist if not for the financial support of James, Wojnarowski writes, describing Paul’s role as a “personable frontman” and as a deputy recruiter under James.
- Klutch represents James and extension-eligible teammate Tristan Thompson, and the agents for the rest of the Cavs are on “full alert” as they try to keep their clients away from Klutch, as Wojnarowski details. The Klutch agency is selling the idea that if players join, the Cavs are likely to sign them to a deal, according to Wojnarowski.
- People around the league are closely monitoring Klutch client Mark Jackson, though the general belief is that James wouldn’t want Jackson to coach his team, based on what the Yahoo! columnist describes as Jackson’s penchant for self-promotion, Wojnarowski hears. That same self-promotion nonetheless keeps Jackson on the radar, Wojnarowski believes.