LeBron James changed representatives this week — going from CAA to longtime friend Rich Paul — and according to a profile of Paul on Sheridan Hoops, the new rep has told folks in Cleveland that James re-joining the Cavaliers at some point in the future isn’t out of the question: “For his part, Paul has largely been above the fray during James’ trials and tribulations over the past two years. A friend of James since he was at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High School in Akron, Paul is one of the R’s in LRMR, James’ management and marketing group. While others around James opted to be reliant on him for income and opportunities, Paul chose a different path. Paul came from humble beginnings at Cleveland Benedictine, where he was a standout basketball player and played AAU locally. Several years older than James, Paul often has been a big brother to The King, giving him the most honest and thoughtful advice in his circle. It was Paul who urged James to not go through with ‘The Decision’ out of concern for the damage James might do to his brand and reputation. When Maverick Carter staged a coup to consolidate power in James’ decision-making circle, Paul left to join CAA and make his own path. […] On the night of ‘The Decision,’ when most of James’ circle and handlers were busy with the production side and other image-related concerns, it was Paul who contacted the Cavaliers and owner Dan Gilbert to inform them that James would be leaving for the Heat. Sources in Cleveland say that Paul always was and has been the most respected member of James’ circle, and that his conduct that night further endeared him to Gilbert and the Cavs. While Gilbert’s late night e-mail rant was vindictive, he never cut off Paul – and that was evidenced when the Cavs selected Tristan Thompson with the fourth pick in the 2011 draft over Jonas Valanciunas. Interestingly, Valanciunas is repped by Rose, while Thompson was repped by Paul. […] While Paul’s new venture is just beginning, there is no doubt he is well on his way to building a successful stable. Moreover, with the summer of 2014 looming large for many NBA teams, – and considering James, with an ETO in 2014 and an opt-out in 2015, could headline an outstanding free agent class – Paul will be in great position to get a max long-term deal for his friend. While James’ decision is two years old, Paul has urged many in Cleveland and around the NBA not to rule out a return to the Cavaliers for LeBron. Paul, who lives in the Cleveland suburbs, has long said that a reunion can happen.”
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