Rich Paul said the quiet part out loud.
The NBA’s most influential player representative laid out some cold truths in an expansive interview with The New Yorker released this week, revealing the ever-widening chasm between the interests of high-end players and fans of many of the league’s teams.
You might remember the CEO and founder of Klutch Sports for his infamous role in the Anthony Davis debacle of 2019. Months after Davis switched agencies to sign with Klutch, Paul grew notoriety by pushing the future Hall of Famer out of New Orleans and single-handedly steering a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers, despite more than a season remaining on Davis’ contract.
At the time it was unheard of. Now, it’s a fairly familiar operation.
A player who is under contract openly expresses his dissatisfaction with his franchise’s situation. He makes it clear to various suitors around the league where he’d like to play, thereby dissuading the market from making competitive offers and clearing the way for a deal to the team of his choice.
It’s how James Harden (not a Klutch client) cajoled the Rockets into trading him with two full seasons left on his deal, so he can join a three-headed beast in Brooklyn, rather than carry a sagging roster in Houston.
The era of player empowerment isn’t just here. It oftentimes feels boundless and borderless.
Davis’ move was despicable to many, but he ultimately got what he wanted.…