As the NBA rumor mill continues to swirl, William Wesley (Worldwide Wes) continues to be the 1A to LeBron James mostly due to his connection to the player. The latest rumor, as reported by Yahoo! Sports involves teams trading for All NBA point guard Chris Paul in attempt to lure James to the town of the acquirer. Wesley has reportedly told teams that trading for Paul – and having salary-cap space – would vastly improve their chances at landing the reigning two-time MVP.
James and Paul have a longstanding friendship. Despite a valiant attempt at getting the point guard to be represented by LRMR and Leon Rose/CAA, Paul considers the two players to be “brothers.” Reportedly talking almost daily, Paul has been present in Akron, Ohio when James hosts his annual bikeathon. James reciprocates by heading to North Carolina for Paul’s annual bowling Pro-Am-esque event during Super Bowl weekend.
But would acquiring Paul be the chip that also nabs LeBron James? Many thought this could be the case with another point guard in Jason Kidd, also a friend of James. However, the Dallas Mavericks continue to be tertiary in the free agency race despite a spending owner, warm weather and close friends.
Paul has long been a coveted player by Cavaliers fans due to his position and amazing talent. His name was floated several weeks ago by local media mostly due to all of the above as well as the current New Orleans ownership’s perceived lack of willingness to provide a team around Paul. The Hornets front office has made moves that have been very questionable even during a time when the team was seemingly in a spot to compete among the best in the Western Conference. The current ownership team in New Orleans is looking for a buyer, so the state of flux only adds to fuel to the fire.
The Yahoo! report claims that Paul has not requested a trade out of New Orleans as well as the level of doubt that clouds Wesley’s apparent promises, something that has not stopped the alleged “power broker” from operating in previous reports. It was only a few weeks ago when Wesley was reportedly shopping James as a tandem with current University of Kentucky coach John Calipari. Rumors had the two linked to Chicago, but the Bulls have since filled their head coaching vacancy with former Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau.
Linked to some displeasure in the past due to the team’s cost-cutting measures, Paul continues to plead his loyalty to the city of New Orleans and the Hornets. Ironically, all of this may also be an attempt to woo Paul over to the Rose/CAA representation as well – another sales pitch of sorts, showing that this all extends well beyond the basketball court. Paul is currently represented by Octagon who also manages Paul’s teammate David West along with Memphis’ Rudy Gay and Olympians Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlan.
In the event that Dan Gilbert and general manager Chris Grant attempt to make a play for Paul’s services, they will have plenty of competition. Memphis, New Jersey and Portland all appear primed to make a run at the point guard, all of which have trade chips that could be considered superior to those in Cleveland.
Hornets Paul Draws Interest as Draft Nears [Yahoo! Sports]
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