Powerful NBA agent Rich Paul appears to be currently on friendlier terms with current Rockets general manager Rafael Stone than with Daryl Morey, who previously served as Stone in Houston and now works as president of basketball operations in Philadelphia.
Among Paul’s many renowned clients are 76ers star Ben Simmons and Rockets star John Wall. In Wall’s case, the Rockets have struck a mutual deal with the five-time All-Star not to play in games this season while both sides explore trade options. The 31-year-old still receives his full salary, without any objection from the team.
With Simmons wanting a trade out of Philadelphia, the 76ers reportedly intend to start fining him again for not participating in team activities. Morey has also publicly expressed strong reluctance to trade Simmons unless the team receives what they consider sufficient value for the triple All-Star. By comparison, the Rockets are clearly much more open to Wall trading – just wait until another team is willing to accept the contract.
In a new interview with Shams Charania of The Athletic, the CEO of Klutch Sports drew a stark contrast between how the Rockets and the Sixers have handled two of his high-profile clients in recent months.
Paul contrasted the situation with Simmons with that of Houston Rockets goalie John Wall, another of his clients, who is paid by Houston during the season even though he is healthy enough to play.
“John is able to play, but Houston is okay with using (the collective bargaining agreement) to pay him to not play,” Paul said. “So which side is it on?” John is perfectly healthy and ready to play, and that’s OK in the ABCs. We’re professional either way, but how can it go both ways? John and the Rockets have been professional about their situation, and we would expect the same with the 76ers. “
Ultimately, the story is about the ongoing conflict between the 76ers and Simmons. But it certainly can’t hurt Stone and the Rockets that the NBA‘s most powerful agent openly supports their approach, especially when it comes to their reputation with other players and agents.
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