During the 2013 NBA draft, LeBron James tweeted this as Ben McLemore slid from the projected top-three pick:
“They sleeping on Ben McLemore. Just watch.”
James had been someone McLemore considered a role model entering the NBA, but McLemore said his decision to sign with the same agent as James had nothing to do with his relationship with the Cleveland Cavaliers star.
McLemore, who parted ways with agent Rodney Blackstock last month, will now be represented by Klutch Sports Group, headed by James’ good friend Rich Paul.
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“I haven’t talked to LeBron about it, but I know he’s been a good mentor for me throughout me coming to the league,” McLemore said. “It was me, my mom (Sonya Reid) and my cousin’s (Richard Boyd) decision, and we felt like it was a good decision for me moving forward.”
James is Klutch’s premier client, but it also represents a handful of NBA players, including Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe.
“It’s a family, a small family and everybody gets the same treatment, same love,” McLemore said. “That’s something that you need, especially as a young player.”
McLemore said he spent two weeks meeting with prospective agents.
The Kings already picked up McLemore’s contract option for the 2015-16 season, so the move to Klutch is not about getting a new deal from the team anytime soon.
McLemore said he wanted to find an agency that would help him on and off the court.
“I felt they could help me in the long run as far as my career moving forward and better me as a player and marketing-wise, too,” McLemore said. “At the same time, I’ve got to go out there and perform on my own, and everything else will come along.”
Holding down the middle – Kings center DeMarcus Cousins hasn’t mentioned the need to add a defensive-minded big man to play next to him this season.
Rather he’s accepted that he will be the defensive anchor the Kings need.
Suns coach Jeff Hornacek has taken notice of Cousins’ improved defense.
“DeMarcus probably doesn’t get enough credit for his defense,” Hornacek said. “I think probably playing on the U.S. team helped him realize that he can help out and still get back and block shots.”
Hornacek said guard Darren Collison’s ball pressure has helped the Kings improve defensively, but he also saw Cousins growing as a defender during international play.
“Watching those games back in the summer, it was pretty impressive when he would help on somebody and (when) it looked like they might have a shot or layup on the other side he would go up there and block it,” Hornacek said. “I think he’s more active defensively, which helps them.”