Rich Paul invokes John Wall, Rockets as template for Ben Simmons, 76ers

Powerful NBA agent Rich Paul seems to be on friendlier terms at the moment with current Rockets general manager Rafael Stone than he is with Daryl Morey, who previously held Stone’s position in Houston and now works as president of basketball operations in Philadelphia.

Among Paul’s many big-name clients are 76ers star Ben Simmons and Rockets star John Wall. In the case of Wall, the Rockets reached a mutual agreement with the five-time All-Star for him not to play in games this season while both parties explore trade options. The 31-year-old is still being paid his salary in full, without any objection by the team.

With Simmons, who wants a trade out of Philadelphia, the 76ers are reportedly planning to resume fining him for not participating in team activities. Morey has also publicly expressed a strong reluctance to the idea of trading Simmons unless the team receives back what it views as sufficient value for the three-time All-Star. By comparison, the Rockets are clearly much more open to trading Wall — it’s just a matter of waiting until another team is willing to accept the contract.

In a new interview with Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Klutch Sports CEO drew a strong contrast between how the Rockets and Sixers have handled two of his marquee clients in recent months.

Paul drew a contrast between the situation with Simmons and that of Houston Rockets guard John Wall, another of his clients, who is being paid by Houston while sitting out the season, even though he is healthy enough to play.

“John is able to play, but Houston is OK using the (Collective Bargaining Agreement) to pay him not to play,” Paul said. “So which way is it? John is perfectly healthy and ready to play, and it’s OK in the CBA. We are being professional with both instances, but how can it go both ways? John and the Rockets have been professional about their situation, and we are also expecting 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 is openly backing their approach, particularly when it comes to their reputation among other players and agents.

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