Is Klutch’s Reputation Making Teams Hesitant in a Simmons Trade?

Updated: September 8, 2021
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There has been an abundance of reports about the fit of Draymond Green and Ben Simmons in the frontcourt for the Golden State Warriors due to their lack of shooting. There is a common denominator though outside of their lack of a consistent jumper and that is the fraternity they are a part of and the agency that represents them. Rich Paul and the Lebron James satellite talent agency Klutch Sports’ reputation is currently under attack with the recent lawsuit by Nerlens Noel that we detailed in a previous article (NoelGoestoWarwithKlutch).

However, the claims that Klutch Sports prioritizes its top-tier clients is not really news or scandal since it’s widely known that all talent agencies will and would put more time and energy into a bigger payday. These players are not only the face of the NBA but of the agencies that represent them and act as the bridge to future star-caliber talent to sign with their companies. Considering all 30 NBA franchises openly operate as cutthroat entities who are willing to part with players who have worked for them for years at the first opportunity a favorable trade becomes available, it is doubtful that the recent Nerlens Noel scandal is of any concern morally when it comes to the perception of Rich Paul or Klutch Sports.

 Much has been made of the business end of Rich Paul and his ability to get more money for his players, but this also is obviously not isolated to Klutch Sports or any of the players they represent. Instead, one of the reasons the Golden State Warriors are presumably concerned with adding Simmons is to also welcome another one of Lebron’s guys into their starting lineup. The recent Draymond Green interview where he threw the front office and head coach Steve Kerr under the bus for the Kevin Durant situation that resulted in his departure from the Warrior’s dynasty is not an event that can be contained to Draymond and the Warriors. Green has done many interview recordings with Lebron and Klutch over the last few years and he stands as one of their most prominent faces.

There are no other agencies in the NBA where players who are represented by the same agent feel as if they are a part of a team that functions outside of the franchise they play for. When the Warriors play the Lakers, no one feels like Draymond is going easy on Lebron or AD…however, there is a subconscious thought that goes through the front office’s head that, “maybe he would second guess undercutting AD the way he would’ve done if necessary, in the past.” There have been plenty of strong friendships in the history of basketball amongst stars, but this is different. These players from opposing teams are not only friends but business partners. And considering that Lebron James has so much more wealth than any other player signed by Klutch (the agency he essentially runs), in a way they work for him.

Again, this is not a factual thing that a franchise can simply pull out and examine on a black and white contract, but it is a feeling and a taste that Klutch Sports brings to the table that is unique to their experience when dealing with them. So the idea of Draymond and Simmons as a part of the Warriors franchise after one of Klutch’s biggest spokesmen trashed their head coach and GM has to be something that they would like to avoid. It is like allowing Lebron James to be even more inside the clubhouse. Once he retires and is just openly part of the business, it presumably will change for franchises. But specifically for contenders in the West, if given the choice between one of Lebron’s guys and players represented by anyone else, it has to be seen at least as a small kicker to prefer the latter. For most of the teams involved in the Simmons trade talks, this variable is probably not one in which sways the balance of what packages they are willing to exchange for All-Star Ben Simmons. However, for the Warriors or any other Western Conference contender who have been contacted, it would be foolish to assume that they are not weary from the start of letting Bron’s people inside without getting Bron himself on the roster.

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