Los Angeles Lakers: The Rich Paul’s Angels are finally together

(Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images)
(Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images) /

LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, all represented by agent Rich Paul, are going to team up with a Los Angeles Lakers team set to make a run at the championship.

After acquiring Anthony Davis in a massive three-team trade with the New Orleans Pelicans and the Washington Wizards, and filling out the roster with multiple 3-and-D players, the Los Angeles Lakers have finally built a championship team based on superstar couple LeBron James-AD, surrounded by wings in charge of stretching the floor.

The creation of this team dates back to a long time ago, way before this summer, as part of a plan jumpstarted in 2017 which unfolded exactly as programmed by agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports and Lakers front office.

In the summer of 2017, shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a restricted free agent for the Detroit Pistons was set to receive a big payday as a young emerging 3-and-D player. He had his rights renounced a week after the start of free agency when little money was left available.

Unable to obtain a satisfactory multi-year contract with all the cap space around the league already committed, Caldwell-Pope opted for a one-year, $18 million deal with the rebuilding Los Angeles Lakers. He was waiting for the following summer to cash on his talent and find long-term accommodation.

The acquisition was immediately seen by many as an attempt to lure a soon-to-become free agent LeBron James to Los Angeles, who shared an agent with KCP.

In retrospect, those who thought so were absolutely right. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was a major asset in recruiting LeBron, not so much for their personal relationship as for the representation connection.

The Lakers had one year to show Rich Paul what kind of organization they had become since Magic Johnson took over, pitching their approach to the game, their plans to build a contender and their player treatment.

It worked like a charm for LA. A year later James was wearing a purple and gold uniform, launching a new era in Los Angeles basketball.

With LeBron in Hollywood, assisted by a supporting cast of young players good enough to raise enthusiasm in the fans but not to make the Lakers a serious contender, the plan evolved for Rich Paul. As soon as Anthony Davis hired him as his representative, the plan became teaming up the two stars in Los Angeles.

After repeated trade discussions failed at the trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers finally managed to land the All-NBA big man in June, setting the foundation for a team expected to run for the championship this upcoming season.

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In the meantime, Caldwell-Pope’s production and consistency declined season after season, allowing the Lakers to re-sign him to an increasingly low prize. This summer they agreed on a two-year, $16 million contract, adding him to an army of shooters needed to structure the team around the two superstars.

In the end, Rich Paul had his master plan realized, managing to reunite his guys LeBron and AD in Los Angeles while even Caldwell-Pope benefitted of this operation, founding his accommodation with a fair amount of money and a chance to compete for the championship.

From a certain point of view, he deserved it, and it is the best Paul could hope and obtain for his client. Although his two seasons in Los Angeles have not been spectacular, full of inconsistencies and ups and downs, do not forget that KCP was the reason why all this happened. The catalyst that allowed this process to start. The first contact between Rich Paul and Rob Pelinka.

While Paul was the Charlie who orchestrated from the darkness, unseen and anonymous, Pelinka was the Bosley who publicly, and gladly, put in place and executed the plan.

Much like the Charlie’s Angels stand out as the blonde, the brown and the dark one, the three players belong to the three main classes of modern basketball. LeBron James the point forward, Caldwell-Pope the 3-and-D guy, Anthony Davis the big man. While James and AD are elite, if not the best, in their respective category, KCP has much work to do to prove he is still the reliable player he used to be in Detroit.

A glimpse of that player has always shown at the end of seasons, but a whole year requires another kind of consistency.

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Whether the Lakers win a championship or not, Rich Paul has shown how much power he holds in the basketball business, forcing his ways to have his clients exactly where he wanted them to be and shifting the power struggle between teams and players definitely towards the players.