Lebron James and Rich Paul’s Klutch Sports is one of the top sports agencies in the world, representing quite a few top athletes. This fact alone, coupled with the myth of LeGM, has created a slew of rumors that Klutch Sports has taken control of the Los Angeles Lakers. Jeanie Buss, the historic franchise’s controlling owner, addressed the whispers once and for all.
Who runs the Lakers?
Buss was frank in her answer about such rumors. Are Paul and James the puppet masters behind every roster move or front office decision?
“Do they have final say? No. Are they running the team? No, no, not at all. I am controlling owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, I’m held accountable for every decision that’s made here,” Buss said, per the Los Angeles Times.
Buss added that concerning basketball decisions, the man in charge is Rob Pelinka, the late Kobe Bryant’s long-time agent, whom Buss appointed after she fired Johnny Buss (her brother) and Mitch Kupchak. Though Pelinka delivered the championship goods in 2020, he’s been met with criticism regarding the Russell Westbrook signing — a move that did not look good on paper whatsoever.
“In terms of basketball decisions, I have complete confidence in our front office, which is headed by Rob Pelinka,” she said. “He is a person that is extremely smart, extremely strategic, everything he does is thoughtful and with purpose. … I have complete confidence that he can put together a roster and find a coach that is going to get us back to where we belong.”
The root of the rumor
It would be impossible to trace the root of the rumor or who started it initially. A lot of the mystery could, one way or another, be traced back to The Decision — the day when LeBron James announced that he’d take his talents to South Beach. It signified that James isn’t just any other athlete. He’s the type of person who likes to be in control of his life, his career, his team, and the players around him.
And when James made the NBA Finals eight consecutive times, making it appear like a simple walk to the park, front offices deemed it the right move to give him the keys to run the organization. So any suggestion from James was immediately turned into policy.
With regard to Rich Paul, the man entered the radar not necessarily when his talent stable started looking like a future Hall of Fame crew. It started when Paul began looking at college talents to sign, effectively getting ahead of everyone else.
The NCAA noticed this and came up with the “Rich Paul Rule,” which included ridiculous pre-requisites an agent must possess. One of them is a bachelor’s degree, which Paul doesn’t have on his resume. This proposal was quickly met by backlash and was rescinded. But the writing was already on the wall. Paul commands respect and even fear from his colleagues and even those above him.
With these in the fans’ consciousness, they connected the dots. Here they have the most popular and polarizing NBA player in history with the most powerful sports agent right by his side. It made a lot of sense that the two would own an NBA team in the near future.
But Buss’ answer finally clears the air. Paul and James’ seemingly unlimited leverage and influence cannot and will not aid them in their quest to control the Purple and Gold.