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Rich Paul’s presence on team charter a major source of contention

Rich Paul

Last season was anything but smooth sailing for the Los Angeles Lakers. A report has now surfaced that Rich Paul, the famed agent of LeBron James, was/is allegedly one of the major sources of contention within the team.

According to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, Paul rode with the team in their chartered plane on more than one occasion, which apparently did not stick well with several members of the organization.

Coaching staff and others close to the team told ESPN there would continue to be an increased presence by Paul and Klutch Sports in ways that seemed strange to them. For instance, three Lakers sources familiar with team travel details independently told ESPN that Paul rode on the Lakers’ charter plane on multiple occasions this season, an act that front-office executives, other NBA general managers and other agents around the league said is highly unusual — if not unheard of.

An unnamed source close to the Lakers even went as far as saying that Paul’s presence on the charter was a potential source of conflict given how some coaches and players had a hunch that the superagent was working behind their backs to try and get them off the team.

“Coaches know Rich is trying to get them fired, and players know Rich is trying to get them traded,” said one agent with ties to the Lakers, who called Paul’s presence on the plane “destructive.”

This is definitely not something the Lakers need right now as they go back to the drawing board following a failed season. LeBron unquestionably remains to be the team’s most important player, but this narrative involving his agent seems to imply that at least in this respect, they are doing more harm than good for the entire organization.