Rich Paul has long been known to be a powerful figure in the NBA world. The Klutch Sports Agent is best known for being associated with LeBron James, though he has been known to work his magic in other areas as well. Most recently, Paul has become a prominent figure once again, this time around the trade talks surrounding Ben Simmons.
Simmons recently made it known that he wants out of Philadelphia and prefers to play for a team in California. Could he be eyeing the Lakers? It’s possible, especially since Paul represents both James and Anthony Davis. However, it’s doubtful the Lakers have any assists the 76ers would deem valuable.
Yet, Charles Barkley wouldn’t put it out of Paul’s hands to force such a move or any move that Simmons favors. While appearing on The Mike Missanelli Show, Barkley did not hold back on his feelings towards Paul’s impact to sway the outcomes of certain transactions between teams.
“You know how that group works. They try to trade their players to where they want to. [New Orleans] had better deals from Boston and I think maybe New York. But they’re like ‘no, he’s gonna go to LA and gonna play with LeBron or he’s not going to play.’ They just bullied the league. At some point, a team of the league got to stand up and say, ‘wait a minute, I paid your guy. You can’t bully me to trade him and me taking some trash back’. So I’m hoping somebody in the Sixers organization got some stones.”
While it’s safe to say that Rich Paul did play a role in getting AD to Los Angeles, what is an agent supposed to do? They represent their clients interests. Now did Paul actually force the Pelicans to make such a trade? That’s a different story, and one that’s unclear.
Barkley is right to say that Paul has an impact on the league, but to say that New Orleans was bullied into a trade is up for debate, especially since the Lakers gave up an enormous package in return. They practically gave up their future in the form of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and multiple first-round picks.
Boston was unwilling to include Jason Tatum in the deal which allowed Los Angeles to seize an opportunity. That doesn’t seem like bullying anyone at all, in fact, it was believed that the Pelicans had won the deal at the time. If you ask now, well you might get different answers.