Sports agent and Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul requested Stephen A. Smith to quote him on the Russell Westbrook-John Wall trade reports, calling it a damn lie.
Several reports of the LA Lakers indulging in talks with the Houston Rockets regarding a deal had surfaced in the market during the recent trade deadline. Reportedly, Klutch Sports wanted the Lakers to trade Russell Westbrook and a first-round pick to Houston in exchange for John Wall.
However, the grapevine suggested that Rob Pelinka was in no mood to give away the already scarce draft picks of the Lakers. Surprisingly, the Lakers ended up making no move at the deadline. Reports of Klutch Sports not being happy with the Lakers GM Pelinka have been making headlines off-late.
While speaking of the same during a recent episode of ESPN’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith revealed his conversation with Rich Paul. The Klutch Sports CEO did not push the Lakers to trade Westbrook for Wall and that there was no truth in those reports.
According to Smith, Paul had told him to go on the record and specify that Klutch Sports had nothing to do with these Westbrook-Wall trade rumors.
Stephen A. Smith quotes Rich Paul on the Russell Westbrook-John Wall rumors.
Westbrook’s marriage with the Lakers hasn’t worked out as planned, with the purple and gold team being four-game below +500. Despite LeBron James playing at an MVP level in his year 19th, the Lakers are the 9th seed in the western conference, struggling to be in the play-in tournament.
With rumors of Klutch Sports wanting the Lakers to ship Westbrook and a first-round pick doing the rounds, Rich Paul called up Smith to make some clarifications on live television.
“Rich Paul called me yesterday and asked me to quote him on the story about him and Klutch Sports and essentially them wanting the Lakers to trade Russell Westbrook and a first-round pick to Houston for John Wall,” said Stephen A.
“He wanted me to state emphatically that there was absolutely, positively no truth to that whatsoever. He never did that. He did not do that. The people who wrote the story never contacted him to get any kind of perspective from him on that. It is an absolute lie and he said, ‘Could you please do me a favor and quote me and tell the world that I specifically said that’s a damn lie. It’s no truth. It never happened.”‘
The Bubble champions look like a mess currently, sitting on the 9th seed with a 27-31 record. Westbrook’s shooting woes and turnovers, coupled with the injury-prone Anthony Davis, continue to haunt the Lakers. With James recently fueling rumors of returning to Cleveland, things are only getting worse for the Jeanie Buss franchise.
It’s unfortunate to see a sensational talent like Westbrook made the scapegoat of all the Lakers’ shortcomings. The former MVP continues to bear the brunt of the LA team’s poor showing this season.