LeBron James began his professional basketball career as a client of Aaron Goodwin. Goodwin negotiated LeBron’s on-court contract and off-court marketing deals, including the lucrative $90 million Nike contract signed immediately prior to the 2003 NBA Draft wherein LeBron was selected #1 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Two years later, LeBron decided to part ways with Goodwin and his company Goodwin Sports Management. He hired Leon Rose (of Creative Artists Agency [CAA]) to handle his playing contracts and formed a new marketing company along with his childhood friends Rich Paul, Maverick Carter, and Randy Mims. The company adopted the first letter of the first name of the four friends and has been known as LRMR ever since.
Yesterday, I was told that a rumor was circulating and that I should “keep an eye on LBJ leaving CAA.” And earlier tonight, Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal tweeted, “LeBron James is leaving CAA to be represented by his childhood friend Rich Paul, who is also leaving CAA, sources said.” Paul, who is a founder of LRMR has also held a position within CAA. As the Cleveland, Ohio sports blog WaitingForNextYear wrote roughly a year ago,
Paul seems focused to make his name in the agent arena. And while LRMR will continue to operate as the marketing arm, Paul tells WFNY that his work with CAA is something completely independent.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com has reported that LeBron James (who still has four years remaining on his contract with the Miami Heat, which was negotiated by Leon Rose of CAA) has in fact left CAA and will soon be signing with Rich Paul. While Paul already represents Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Tristan Thompson, and Eric Bledsoe, starting up his new company “Klutch Sports Group” with LeBron James as a client is certainly the moment Paul has been waiting for – his name in the agent arena will be made. But how much of a role will Rich Paul play even when it comes time for LeBron to negotiate a new contract with a professional basketball team? As NBA reporter Alex Kennedy tweeted, “LeBron James could hire anyone as his agent. He’s going to have max contract offers and plenty of opportunities regardless of who reps him.”