Rich Paul joined Evan Cohen, Amin Elhassan, and Zach Harper for about a half hour on SiriusXM’s NBA channel over the weekend, and if you are a Sirius subscriber (or haven’t done the three-month free trial yet) it is highly advisable to take the plunge. This was a glimpse of Paul he has rarely shown, if ever, and there’s a difference between an SI cover story where the writer accumulates the details and just hearing him engaged in a free-flowing conversation.
The part that stood out the most to me was when the agent was asked why Anthony Davis chose to waive a $4 million trade kicker from the Lakers, which enabled them to pursue Kawhi Leonard and when that fell through ultimately have more ammo to add other players like DeMarcus Cousins and Avery Bradley.
“Anthony wanted to do what’s best for the team. They had to create cap space knowing that [when] they went out to get him that the depth chart would be pretty scarce. Here we are again as athletes. You can’t have it both ways. The media says well you know what? If you want all your money you’re greedy.”
“Or when you want more money than they think you’re worth, they say you’re greedy,” he continued. “When you want to take less, like in this case he wanted to do what was best for the team because he’s only been in the playoffs two years.”
When asked by Elhassan how he handles this type of request as an agent who has his own family to feed, Paul answered, “I asked what’s important to him. If it’s important for you to keep your money in your pocket that’s what we’ll do. But if it’s important for you to win, the more money you have available to go out and take talent then that’s what you do.” Paul added that this decision was not contingent on landing Kawhi Leonard.
While we can all think from the outside that Space Jam 2 and any other opportunities that LeBron and Klutch Sports can facilitate for AD also undoubtedly contributed to this decision — there are multiple avenues for him to make this money back — this was a good answer from Paul considering his role in all this.
The interview really shined a light to an understatedness about Paul’s demeanor that was a fascinating juxtaposition from how he handles the process of pressuring teams to move unhappy clients like Davis from the Pelicans or Eric Bledsoe from the Suns.