As pundits begin questioning LeBron James' power on the court, the four-time MVP's closest ally is building a monolithic brand off of it.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports reported Tuesday that Washington Wizards guard John Wall has signed with agent Rich Paul and his Klutch Sports umbrella. Wall fired powerbroker Dan Fegan earlier this month and had long been rumored to be signing with Paul.
The signing could not have been made official until Tuesday, 15 days after Fegan was informed of his dismissal.
The Paul-Wall connection is interesting on a number of levels—and not just the ones that open up easy references to the Houston-based rapper. Wall is currently the biggest free agent in the kicks world, with his Adidas deal expiring in September. Adidas tried re-signing Wall, but the two parties' unsuccessful negotiations played a part in Fegan's dismissal.
A move to Klutch Sports should make Nike a major favorite to land Wall's next shoe deal.
James is represented by Paul, who is known around the league as one of the Cleveland Cavaliers star's closest allies. The King inked a lifetime deal with Nike in December. Fellow Paul clients Eric Bledsoe, Tristan Thompson, Montrezl Harrell and others are all known to either have signed a deal with Nike or regularly wear the company's shoes.
The through-line here is obvious. Wall has been wearing Nike regularly since late December, a move he said at the time was rooted in left-foot discomfort.
Given the fact Wall fired Fegan two weeks after that decision and reportedly followed that up by signing with Paul, it's possible something more has been going on. There is no official word that Wall signed with Nike at this time, but it'd be a major shock if he headed elsewhere.
From a Klutch perspective, landing a big shoe deal is paramount. Wall is under contract with the Wizards through 2018-19, so no contract-related commission will be coming in for three more seasons. The shoe deal will be Paul's best opportunity to differentiate himself from Fegan, who was unable to procure a deal with Adidas that satisfied Wall despite the company's push with its basketball brand.
Wall has been vocal about his displeasure with the NBA's salary structure, including a barb he threw at the contract signed by the Detroit Pistons' Reggie Jackson over the summer, per Comcast SportsNet Washington (h/t SI Wire's Scooby Axson).
There's no question his desire to make the cash register ring played a part in making the move over to Paul. Now it's up to Klutch Media to prove it can be a major player with a guy who isn't directly tied to its biggest client.
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